Interrogatories represent a fundamental discovery tool and provide litigants with an important mechanism for extracting and obtaining information. Written interrogatories may be useful to particularize and elaborate pleadings and to define and narrow the eventual issues to be litigated at trial. Interrogatories are often preferable for obtaining certain information because they are a relatively inexpensive form of discovery. Some of the information that was originally requested through interrogatories is now automatically provided through initial disclosures under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a). However, interrogatories remain a key discovery tool that can be used alone or in connection with other discovery methods to obtain information about another party’s claims or defenses.
This chapter specifically focuses on the use of interrogatories as provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and specifically Rule 33, but the different United States District Court and individual State courts also contain rules that govern the number, form, and use of interrogatories. Thus, it is always necessary to consult the local civil rules or state rules of the jurisdiction in which a case is pending before drafting, serving, and answering interrogatories.