Interrogatories in Georgia Superior Court – At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Georgia Code related to propounding interrogatories in Georgia Superior Court. For more detailed information, please see the SmartRules Interrogatory Guide for the court where your action is pending.

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, there is no limit to the use of written interrogatories. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(a).

No party may serve more than fifty (50) interrogatories, including subparts, on any other party during the course of discovery without permission of the court. Such permission may be granted based on a showing that the litigation is complex or that the party seeking to serve the interrogatories would endure undue hardship if not allowed to serve the additional interrogatories. O.C.G.A. 9-11-33(a).

A party who has responded to an discovery request with a response that was complete when made has no duty to supplement his response, except if:
1. The discovery request concerns the identity and location of persons having knowledge of discoverable matters;
2. The discovery request concerns the identity of persons likely to be called as experts at trial, the subject matter on which he is expected to testify, and the substance of his testimony;
3. The party later learns that the response was incorrect when made; or
4. The party learns that the statement is no longer true, and his failure to amend the response would amount to a knowing concealment. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(e)(1); O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(e)(2).

A duty to supplement responses may be imposed by:
1. Order of the court;
2. Agreement of the parties; or
3. New requests for supplementation of prior responses. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(e)(3).

Interrogatories may relate to any unprivileged matter relevant to the subject matter of the pending action and relating to a claim or defense of any party. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(1).

An interrogatory is permissible even if the information sought would be inadmissible at trial, as long as the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(1). Similarly, an interrogatory is permissible even though the answer would involve an opinion or contention that relates to fact or to the application of law to fact, although the court may order that such an interrogatory need not be answered until designated discovery has been completed, a pre-trial conference has been held, or such other later time as the court may decide. O.C.G.A. 9-11-33(b)(2).

A party may discover the existence and contents of any insurance agreement under which any person providing insurance might be required to satisfy all or part of any judgment entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payment of such judgment. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(2).

A party may use interrogatories to require another party to identify:
1. Any expert witnesses to be called by such other party at trial;
2. The subject matter of each expert witness’s testimony;
3. The facts and opinions to which the expert will testify; and
4. A summary of the grounds for each opinion of the expert. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(4)(A)(i). If a party elects to obtain discovery in this matter, however, unless it would be manifestly unjust, the court may require the party seeking discovery to pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses incurred in obtaining the relevant facts and opinions from the expert. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(4)(C)(ii).

In the case of an expert retained by another party but not expected to testify at trial, a party may only inquire into facts known or opinions held by that expert by obtaining a copy of the expert’s report, if applicable, under the procedures outlined in O.C.G.A. 9-11-35(b) or by showing exceptional circumstances making it impracticable for the party seeking to discover such facts and opinions to obtain the same by other means. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(4)(B). Unless it would be manifestly unjust, the court must require the party seeking discovery in this manner to pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses incurred in obtaining the relevant facts and opinions from the expert. O.C.G.A. 9-11-26(b)(4)(C)(ii).

The answers to interrogatories generally may be used at trial to the extent that they qualify as admissions under the rules of evidence. O.C.G.A. 9-11-33.

After providing reasonable notice to other parties and persons affected, a party may move the trial court for an order compelling another party to respond, or to respond fully, to previously-served interrogatories. O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(a)(2).

In the alternative, the trial court may enter an order:
1. Providing that certain facts will be taken as true for purposes of the action;
2. Refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose certain claims or defenses, or prohibiting him from introducing certain matters into evidence; or
3. Striking pleadings in whole or in part, or rendering default judgment against the disobedient party. O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(b)(2)(A); O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(b)(2)(B); O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(b)(2)(C).

In addition or as an alternative to the above, the trial court may order the disobedient party or his attorney to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees, caused by the disobedient party’s failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that an award of expenses would be unjust. O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(d)(1).

For these purposes, an evasive or incomplete answer is treated as a failure to answer. O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(a)(3).

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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