Response to Interrogatories, Illinois Circuit Court–At A Glance

Use this “At A Glance Guide” to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure (Illinois Compiled Statutes and Illinois Supreme Court Rules) applicable to responding to interrogatories in Illinois Circuit Court. For more detailed information, including local rules, please see the Illinois Circuit Court SmartRules Guides: Response to Interrogatories.   

Timing:

Within twenty eight (28) days after service of the interrogatories, the party to whom they are directed must serve a sworn answer or an objection to each interrogatory, with proof of service upon all other parties entitled to notice. IL Supreme Court R. 213(d).

Response to Interrogatories Rules:

 Supreme Court Rule 213 regarding interrogatories is to be liberally construed to do substantial justice between or among the parties. IL Supreme Court R. 213(k).

It is the duty of the attorney directing interrogatories to restrict them to the subject matter of the case, avoid undue detail, and avoid the imposition of un-necessary burden or expense on the answering party. IL Supreme Court R. 213(b).

The party served with interrogatories must answer or object to each question. IL Supreme Court R. 213(d).

Each answer or objection must be immediately preceded by a full restatement of the interrogatory to which it responds. IL Supreme Court R. 213(d).

Answers and objections to interrogatories served on a corporation, partnership or association should be sworn and should be made by an officer, partner or agent who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. IL Supreme Court R. 213(d).

Interrogatory answers have the same evidentiary effect as responses given in a discovery deposition. IL Supreme Court R. 213(h).

When the answer to an interrogatory may be obtained from documents in the possession or control of a party on whom the interrogatory was served, the responding party may produce the documents as his or her response to the interrogatory. IL Supreme Court R. 213(e).

Full disclosure in discovery is required as to any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it involves a claim or defense of the party requesting the disclosure or of any other party. Full disclosure includes the “existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any documents or tangible things,” as well as “the identity of any persons having knowledge of relevant facts.” IL Supreme Court R. 201(b)(1).

The word “documents” includes, but is not limited to, papers, photographs, films, recordings, memoranda, books, records, accounts, communications and retrievable information in computer storage. IL Supreme Court R. 201(b)(1).

When a party responding to discovery withholds information or documents from disclosure under a claim of privilege, such a claim must be expressly made and supported by a description of the nature of the documents, communications or things withheld and the exact privilege claimed. IL Supreme Court R. 201(n).

Generally, a party may not serve more than thirty (30) interrogatories, including sub-parts, without leave of court granted on good cause shown after written motion. The motion for leave to serve interrogatories in excess of thirty (30) must set forth the proposed questions and the reasons establishing good cause. IL Supreme Court R. 213(c).

Where the Supreme Court has provided standard form interrogatories for a cause of action and the number of questions in the standard form exceeds thirty (30), the form may be employed without leave of court in the cause of action to which it applies. IL Supreme Court R. 213(c).

A party may serve more than thirty (30) interrogatories “upon agreement of the parties.” Cook County Circuit Court R. 3.1(a).

Upon written interrogatory, a party must furnish the identities and location addresses of witnesses who will testify at trial, together with the subject of their testimony. and must provide the following information:

(1) Lay Witnesses. A “lay witness” is a person giving only fact or lay opinion testimony. For each lay witness, the party must identify the subjects on which the witness will testify. An answer is sufficient if it gives reasonable notice of the testimony, taking into account the limitations on the party’s knowledge of the facts known by and opinions held by the witness.

(2) Independent Expert Witnesses. An “independent expert witness” is a person giving expert testimony who is not the party, the party’s current employee, or the party’s retained expert. For each independent expert witness, the party must identify the subjects on which the witness will testify and the opinions the party expects to elicit. An answer is sufficient if it gives reasonable notice of the testimony, taking into account the limitations on the party’s knowledge of the facts known by and opinions held by the witness.

(3) Controlled Expert Witnesses. A “controlled expert witness” is a person giving expert testimony who is the party, the party’s current employee, or the party’s retained expert. For each controlled expert witness, the party must identify: (i) the subject matter on which the witness will testify; (ii) the conclusions and opinions of the witness and the bases therefor; (iii) the qualifications of the witness; and (iv) any reports prepared by the witness about the case. IL Supreme Court Rule 213(f).

 A party has a duty to seasonably supplement or amend any prior response to interrogatories when new or additional information becomes known to the party. IL Supreme Court R. 213(i).

Discovery materials may not be filed except upon leave of court or as authorized by statute or local rule. IL Supreme Court R. 201(m).

Notwithstanding the above, discovery requests to non-parties must be filed with the court. IL Supreme Court R. 201(o).

Service of responses and objections must be accompanied by proof of service on all other parties entitled to notice. IL Supreme Court R. 213(a).

A party can obtain information through:

(1) depositions “upon oral examination or written questions,”

(2) written interrogatories to parties,

(3) discovery of documents, objects or tangible things,

(4) inspection of real estate,

(5) requests to admit, and

(6) physical and mental examination of persons.

Duplication of discovery methods to obtain the same information “should be avoided.” IL Supreme Court R. 201(a).

Discovery, admissions of fact and of genuineness of documents and answers to interrogatories shall be in accordance with rules. 735 ILCS 5/2-1003(a-1).

With respect to interrogatories and requests to produce documents, “[a] party has a duty to seasonably supplement or amend any prior answer or response whenever new or additional information subsequently becomes known to that party.” IL Supreme Court R. 213(i) and 214.

Any party who by pleading alleges any claim for bodily injury or disease, including mental health injury or disease, shall be deemed to waive any privilege between the injured person and each health care provider who has furnished care at any time to the injured person. 735 ILCS 5/2-1003(a). Additional requirements apply.

The parties must make reasonable efforts to resolve differences over discovery. All motions relative to the discovery process must include a statement by counsel for the moving party that, despite personal consultation with opposing counsel and reasonable efforts to resolve the dispute, counsel have been unable to reach accord, or opposing counsel has made him or herself unavailable or has acted unreasonably. IL Supreme Court R. 201(k).

The Supreme Court Rules provide detailed provisions for the consequences of abuse of the discovery process. IL Supreme Court R. 219.

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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