Interrogatories in Virginia Circuit Court – At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Virginia Supreme Court Rules related to propounding interrogatories in Virginia Circuit Courts. For more detailed information, please see the SmartRules Interrogatory Guide for the court where your action is pending.

The Virginia rules do not contain explicit requirements for the format of interrogatory papers. As a matter of custom and practice, interrogatories are stated in separate numbered paragraphs and, to the fullest extent practicable, each paragraph is limited to a single question.

Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories to be answered by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. V.S.C.R. 4:8(a).

The party answering the interrogatories shall restate each question, by photocopying it or otherwise, then insert the word “Answer” and immediately thereafter state the response to that question. The answering party shall attach the necessary oath and certificate of service to the answers. V.S.C.R. 4:8(b).

Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. The answers are to be signed by the person making them, and the objections signed by the attorney making them. The party submitting the interrogatories may move for an order under Rule 4:12(a) with respect to any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory. V.S.C.R. 4:8(d).

Interrogatories may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under Rule 4:1(b), and the answers may be used to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence and for the purposes of Rule 3:20. Only such interrogatories and the answers thereto as are offered in evidence shall become a part of the record. V.S.C.R. 4:8(e).

An interrogatory otherwise proper is not necessarily objectionable merely because an answer to the interrogatory involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that such an interrogatory need not be answered until after designated discovery has been completed or until a pre-trial conference or other later time.

Through interrogatories, a party may require any other party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial, to state the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, and to state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. V.S.C.R. 4:1(b)(4)(A)(i).

Where the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or ascertained from the business records, including electronically stored information, of the party upon whom the interrogatory has been served or from an examination, audit or inspection of such business records, or from a compilation, abstract or summary based thereon, and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer is substantially the same for the party serving the interrogatory as for the party served, it is a sufficient answer to such interrogatory to specify the records from which the answer may be derived or ascertained and to afford to the party serving the interrogatory reasonable opportunity to examine, audit or inspect such records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts or summaries. A specification shall be in sufficient detail to permit the interrogating party to locate and to identify, as readily as can the party served, the records from which the answer may be ascertained. A specification of electronically stored information may be made under this Rule if the information will be made available in a reasonably usable form or forms. V.S.C.R. 4:8(f).

No party shall serve upon any other party, at any one time or cumulatively, more than thirty written interrogatories, including all parts and subparts without leave of court for good cause shown. V.S.C.R. 4:8(g).

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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