Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

After 2 extensions, opposing party provided un-verified responses to Request for Admissions, Interrogatories (Special & Form) & Documents. Every response is prefaced with blanket objections & objections to terms, which are followed by limited, incomplete or evasive responses. After 2 meet & confer letters & 2 phone calls, opposing party still has not agreed to further respond or provide verified responses.

Q1: Can unverified responses be considered non-responses & therefore considered as "admitted to"?

Q2: Any further recommendation?

Thank you

Asked on 6/21/12, 2:39 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Yes, but only after confirmed as such by the court on a motion.

File the motion.

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Answered on 6/21/12, 2:44 pm

Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

Unverified answers and responses are the same as receiving no response at all. File motions to compel responses to the form interrogatories, special interrogatories and requests for production. Also file a motion to deem the requests for admission admitted. Seek sanctions against the responding party and its counsel under CCP secion 2023.010, et seq. Assuming the motions are granted, the court will orde responses within some period of time and if you do not receive them, file a motion for terminating sanctions under CCP section 2023.010, et seq.

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Answered on 6/21/12, 3:21 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

The other Mr. Hoffman (no relation) is right that unverified responses are equivalent to no responses. There is a major exception, though. Responses that contain only objections do not have to be verified.

You will need to bring a motion to compel responses to each set of discovery. Don't delay; there may be an argument over when your motions have to be filed, but you can avoid that argument by filing them before the earliest possible due date.

Facts may be deemed admitted if the party refuses to respond, but only if the court so orders. In most cases, the court will first order the party to respond and will only consider deeming the facts admitted if the party disobeys that order, making another motion necessary.

As for further recommendations: get a lawyer if at all possible. If you can't afford to have one represent you, at least try to hire one to consult with you in order to help you bring these motions correctly. They are routine for most litigators, but can be very difficult for laypeople. You don't want to lose due to an avoidable error.

Good luck.

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Answered on 6/21/12, 3:37 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

An unverified response is treated as no response at all, with respect to substantive responses. Objections, however, do not have to be verified, and the failure to verify does not waive the objection. Mr. Kippen, an attorney I used to work with, lost this issue at the Second District Court of Appeal. "After reconsideration, we conclude that by filing a timely but unverified response to a request for production of documents, Blue Ridge did not waive its asserted privilege objections as the objections do not require a verification in order to be preserved." (Blue Ridge Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2nd Dist. 1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 339.)

As to the responses that are objected to, you are going to have to meet and confer, and then move to compel a further response. You have a 45 day window from the date the responses were served, which is extended 5 days if they were served by mail.

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Answered on 6/21/12, 6:52 pm

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