Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

I am in litigation in California and am involved with a discovery dispute. Opposing party issued the following interrogatories:

"1. state each date where you contend action X occurred."

"2. For each date provided in answer to interrogatory 1, state what you contend to be the full nature of services provided."

Does this structure violate the limitation of maximum 35 rogs? I feel like if I answered with say, 20 dates, question 2, with it's for each clause, essentially expands to 20 questions.

Asked on 12/11/15, 2:39 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeannette Darrow Jeannette C.C. Darrow, Attorney at Law

No, this does not violate the limitation. They've asked two questions, and you're giving two answers. If you only had one date for question 1, then you'd only be stating one date for question 2. They can claim they didn't know in advance of asking question 1 what your answer to question 2 would be. Regardless, they're entitled to your complete response as it is phrased here.

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Answered on 12/11/15, 2:51 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

I would say that interrogatory no. 1 doesn't violate the rule. I agree that interrogatory no. 2 might violate the rule of 35 and because it's compound. If you're in unlimited jurisdiction, the propounding attorney could have attached a declaration for more discovery. Nevertheless, even if you object, a skilled attorney should be able to elicit the same information from you at a deposition and tie it up in a neat bundle by asking, "Is that everything that happened regarding this issue on XXX date?" Then you'd be bound by that response.

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Answered on 12/11/15, 2:54 pm
Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

Mr. Cohen has given you seriously incorrect answer regarding question 2. First off, the rule of 35 and the rule against compound questions are two totally separate rules. An objection that an interrogatory is compound has nothing to do with the rule of 35. Second, the question is not in any way compound. Compound questions are ones that contain multiple parts, such as "Do you contend X and do you contend Y," or "state why you did x, or if you contend you didn't do x explain your excuse for not doing x." Both of those must be broken up into separate questions even if they are the only two questions and don't come close to the limit of 35. Your question 2. is not compound in any way. Second, the rule is a limit of 35 question, not a limit of 35 parts to the answer. If it is a single direct question, it is irrelevant that you will have to answer it regarding multiple events. It is still a single question for the rule of 35.

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Answered on 12/11/15, 3:49 pm

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