Use this information to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure that you need to know to propound interrogatories in the Illinois Circuit Court. For more detailed treatment of interrogatories in the Illinois Circuit Court, including local rules, please see the Illinois Circuit Court SmartRules Guides Interrogatories, and Response to Interrogatories. Also, regarding formatting requirements please see the SmartRules Illinois Circuit Court Guide Generally Applicable Rules and Formatting Requirements.
Illinois Circuit Court Interrogatory and Response to Interrogatory Rules
Except with leave of court and for good cause shown, no discovery procedure “shall be noticed or otherwise initiated” prior to the time that all defendants have appeared or are required to appear in the action. IL Supreme Court R. 201(d).
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).
Unless the court orders otherwise for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice, a party may use methods of discovery in any sequence and the fact that a party is conducting discovery “shall not operate to delay any other party’s discovery.” IL Supreme Court R. 201(e).
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 must 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). In this event the production of documents must comply with the rules for responses to requests for production.
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).
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.
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).
A party may direct written interrogatories to any other party. IL Supreme Court R. 213(a).
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 Supreme Court has established standard form interrogatory sets for a number of causes of action. IL Supreme Court R. 213(j). These forms should be used in cases where a form for the cause of action at issue is available. The forms can be found within the text of the Supreme Court Rules, immediately following Rule 213. IL Supreme Court R. 213.
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); Cook County Circuit Court R. 3.1(a).
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).
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).