How to Answer Form Interrogatory Number 17.1 on Personal Injury Form Interrogatories

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

Discovery is an important part of any personal injury case.  Form Interrogatory Section 17.0 is labeled Responses to Request for Admissions.  This is commonly served in a personal injury case in conjunction with a Request for Admissions.  The text of Form Interrogatory Number 17.1 is:

Is your response to each request for admission served with these interrogatories an unqualified admission?  If not, for each response that is not an unqualified admission:

(a) state the number of the request;

(b) state all facts upon which you base your response;

(c) state the names, ADDRESSES, and telephone numbers of all PERSONS who have knowledge of those facts; and

(d) identify all DOCUMENTS and other tangible things that support your response and state the name, ADDRESS, and telephone number of the PERSON who has each DOCUMENT or thing.  Form Interrogatory 17.1 California Judicial Council Form DISC-001 (Revised January 1, 2008), Page 7 of 8.

 

The words in boldface capitals in the interrogatories are defined in Section 4 of Form Interrogatories-General.   ADDRESS is defined as “street address, including the city, state and zip code.”  PERSON means “a natural person, firm, association, organization, partnership, business, trust, limited liability company, corporation, or public entity.”  DOCUMENT means “a writing, as defined in Evidence Code section 250, and includes the original or a copy of handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostats, photographs, electronically stored information, and every other means of recording upon a tangible thing and form of communicating or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations of them.”

How, then, does a plaintiff or defendant answer Form Interrogatory Number 17.1?  Here is an example.   If the Request for Admission, Number 9 is “Please admit that YOU own the property where the PLAINTIFF was injured on the date of the INCIDENT,” and you did not admit the Request for Admission, the response would be

Response to Form Interrogatory Number 17.1:

No.

(a) Request for Admissions, Set One, Request 9;

(b) Defendant did not own the property where the Plaintiff was injured on the date of the incident because Defendant had sold the property to Cr0ss-Defendant City of Rancho Muscupiabe,  on August 21, 2009;

(c) Defendant, 300 E. State St. #517, Redlands, California, (909) 296-6708  Cr0ss-Defendant City of Rancho Muscupiabe, 1200 Hill Drive, Rancho Muscupiabe, CA 92407, (909) 708-6055.

(d) Quitclaim deed, a recorded copy which is in possession of Cross-Defendant  City of Rancho Muscupiabe, 1200 Hill Drive, Rancho Muscupiabe, CA 92407, (909) 708-6055.

 

If each response to the Request for Admission is an unqualified admission, then the answering party must simply respond to Form Interrogatory 17.1 in this way.
Response to Form Interrogatory Number 17.1:

Yes.

This interrogatory is an important tool because it explains why a party has denied a Request for Admissions, and allows the asking party to detail why the party is not admitting to certain facts.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address: 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

Telephone: (909) 296-6708

Form Interrogatories in California Personal Injury Litigation: What are they good for?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Form interrogatories are questions that can be used in civil discovery to find out information about other parties, including information like a party’s name, information about their case, and other information, such as contentions.  The plus is they are cheap to serve.  The minus is they often are not particulary useful.

Form interrogatories are a good tool, but like any tool, they need to be used for their intended purpose.  They are not the end-all, be-all of discovery.  They are designed to do some things, but not others.

California has form interrogatories created by the Judicial Council.   There are general civil law interrogatories applicable to an unlimited civil case (though be warned, there are times that it does not make sense to use them, like in eminent domain proceedings, where they are far too general and rarely relevant to the proceedings).

The general civil form interrogatories, Judicial Council Form DISC-001, have instructions on the front, an opportunity to define the term “INCIDENT” and various interrogatories.  There are also form interrogatories for limited civil cases, unlawful detainer actions, and employment law cases.

Form interrogatories are easy to use, because they involve checking boxes.  The advantage to form interrogatories is that they do not count  (in unlimited civil cases ONLY) towards the rule of 35 for specially prepared interrogatories.  California Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.740(a).  Form interrogatories do count against the grab bag rule of 35 in limited civil cases, so they should be use very judiciously.

Typically, I will use form interrogatories in every personal injury case.  When I was doing personal injury defense, I would serve them as soon as possible after being served, or no later than when the answer.  I also use them judiciously.  Some of them do not apply in every case.   Sometimes, subsequent sets are needed, particularly for the use of Form Interrogatory No. 17.1, in conjunction with the service of Requests for Admission.

Form Interrogatories should not be served on a personal injury defendant without leave of court before the first of ten days after service of summons, or the defendant’s appearance. California Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.020(a).

The problems with responses to  interrogatories is that they are often bloated and written by attorneys, chock full of objections.  Responses are painfully slow, with a minimum of thirty days after personal service.  Often the information sought in form interrogatories is better obtained in a deposition.  Interrogatories are also available only to parties.  California Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.010(a).

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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