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What if the opposing party cites the wrong statute?

Riverside, CA |
Filed under: Litigation Discovery

In her Responses to Interrogs. in a divorce case, the lawyer for the other side cites the wrong stature as the basis for her objections/responses to the nnterrogs., IS this significant and can it be used to my benefit?

Attorney Answers 3


The answer is "it depends". While on its face, citing a wrong provision can have an adverse affect on the objector's abiliity to avoid providing a discovery response, depending on what was written to explain the objection, combined with any explanation given to the court should you make a motion to compel, or for other sanctions, judges in most jurisdiction have the discretion to overlook "technicalities" and address the substantive issue, that being the propriety of the interrogatory as propounded.

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You mention "propriety".Is it "proper" to submit interrogs. if 1) there is a pending OSC Contempt proceeding pending [but separately distinct from the dissolution of marriage matter] and 2) a deadline to complete discovery in the dissolution matter. They are not conjoined which is the position of opposing counsel to not respond to interrogs.


As long as the substance of the objection can be clearly understood, the fact that the objection cited an incorrect statute would probably have no adverse consequence. The only difference is if the objection cites a statute that has been repealed and superseded by a new statute. (Examples would be the "best evidence rule" and citations to the former sections of the Civil Discovery Act of 1986). In such instances, the error could possibly be used to your benefit.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough facts in your hypothetical situation to give you a precise analysis.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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In general, the answer is no. As long as the other side states what the actual objection is, they don't need to cite statutes or case law to preserve the objections. To answer further I'd need to know what you're asking and the basis of the other sides objection...but I don't recommend you get into that on a public forum. If you end up filing a motion to compel the fact that the other side is relying upon incorrect citations will likely come back to haunt him/her. All this being said, if the other side has an attorney you should consider doing the same. Representing yourself under those circumstances puts you at a significant disadvantage. I wish you the best of luck.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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