Use this “At A Glance Guide” to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure applicable to responding to interrogatories in California Superior Court. For more detailed information, including Local Rules, please see the California Superior Court SmartRules Response to Interrogatories guides.
Responses to interrogatories are due within thirty (30) days (five (5) days for unlawful detainer actions) if the interrogatories were personally served, thirty-five (35) days if the interrogatories were served by mail and thirty (30) days plus two (2) court days if the interrogatories were served by express mail or facsimile or electronically.
On motion of the propounding party, the court may shorten the time for response, or, on motion of the responding party the court may extend the time for response.
Response to Interrogatory Rules
The party to whom interrogatories have been propounded shall respond in writing under oath separately to each interrogatory by (1) an answer containing the information sought to be discovered, (2) an exercise of the party’s option to produce writings, or (3) an objection to the particular interrogatory.
Each answer in the response shall be as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably available to the responding party permits.
If an interrogatory cannot be answered completely, it shall be answered to the extent possible. If the responding party does not have personal knowledge sufficient to respond fully to an interrogatory, that party shall so state, but shall make a reasonable and good faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry to other natural persons or organizations, except where the information is equally available to the propounding party.
If only a part of an interrogatory is objectionable, the remainder of the interrogatory shall be answered. If an objection is made to an interrogatory or to a part of an interrogatory, the specific ground for the objection shall be set forth clearly in the response. If an objection is based on a claim of privilege, the particular privilege invoked shall be clearly stated. If an objection is based on a claim that the information sought is protected work product that claim shall be expressly asserted.
If a party to whom interrogatories have been directed fails to serve a timely response, that party waives any right to exercise the option to produce writings, as well as any objection to the interrogatories, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product.
However, the court, on motion, may relieve that party from this waiver on its determination that (1) the party has subsequently served a response that is in substantial compliance with the Code of Civil Procedure, and (2) the party’s failure to serve a timely response was the result of mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect.
Designation of Records
If the answer to an interrogatory would necessitate the preparation or the making of a compilation, abstract, audit, or summary of or from the documents of the party to whom the interrogatory is directed, and if the burden or expense of preparing or making it would be substantially the same for the party propounding the interrogatory as for the responding party, it is a sufficient answer to that interrogatory to refer to this subdivision and to specify the writings from which the answer may be derived or ascertained.
This specification shall be in sufficient detail to permit the propounding party to locate and to identify, as readily as the responding party can, the documents from which the answer may be ascertained. The responding party shall then afford to the propounding party a reasonable opportunity to examine, audit, or inspect these documents and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries of them.
Form & Format
In the first paragraph of the response immediately below the title of the case, there shall appear the identity of the responding party, the set number, and the identity of the propounding party. Each answer, exercise of option, or objection in the response shall bear the same identifying number or letter and be in the same sequence as the corresponding interrogatory, but the text of that interrogatory need not be repeated.
The party to whom the interrogatories are directed shall sign the response under oath unless the response contains only objections.
If that party is a public or private corporation, or a partnership, association, or governmental agency, one of its officers or agents shall sign the response under oath on behalf of that party. If the officer or agent signing the response on behalf of that party is an attorney acting in that capacity for the party, that party waives any lawyer-client privilege and any protection for work product during any subsequent discovery from that attorney concerning the identity of the sources of the information contained in the response. The attorney for the responding party shall sign any responses that contain an objection.
Responses to supplemental interrogatories must include, immediately below the title of the case, the identity of the propounding and responding parties, the set number and the nature of the discovery to which response is made. Each supplemental response must be identified with the same number or letter and be in the same order as the request to which it responds.
Filing & Service
The responding party shall serve the original of the response on the propounding party. The party to whom the interrogatories are propounded shall also serve a copy of the response on all other parties who have appeared in the action, unless the court on motion with or without notice has relieved that party from this requirement on its determination that service on all other parties would be unduly expensive or burdensome.
SmartRules guides cover additional requirements including:
Service of Interrogatories
Expert Discovery Cut-Off
Facilitation of Discovery Requirements
Local Rules & Requirements
For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules guide for the litigation document you are drafting.
Originally posted May 21, 2009