Interrogatories are one type of written discovery. You can send out both Form Interrogatories which are Judicial Council approved questions, and/or Special Interrogatories which you prepare yourself. Interrogatories are governed under Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.010, et seq.
Interrogatories are primarily used to gather facts, identify witnesses, and identify documents which support contentions in a complaint or defenses in an answer.
If you need documents, you propound what is called a Demand for Production of Documents and Things, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.010, et seq.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
Depending on the complexity of your case, you could use Judicial Council form DISC-001 for your general form interrogatories. This is good to use in the beginning phase of discovery. You can find a lot of what you need here:
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There are two types of interrogatories. One type is called form interrogatories. You can locate the form at the Superior court website: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm Form interrogatories are simple to use because you check boxes and then the opposing party is required to respond to the questions you have checked. Form interrogatories are very good for finding out about damages, witnesses, investigations and contentions about contracts. They are also useful because the answering party is less likely to object to them.
You can also prepare 35 special interrogatories that ask for specific information you need to find out in your case. These types of interrogatories are trickier because you have to prepare them yourself, and oftentimes, the other side will object to the way the special interrogatory is worded. If you are going to use special interrogatories, make each one specific as possible. Since there are many rules that govern using special interrogatories, it's best to have an attorney help you prepare them.
The advantage to both types of interrogatories is that the opposing side must respond to them under oath. The answering party is required to verify the responses. The effect is the same as if the witness was testifying in court.
Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence from the opposing party using discovery tools such as interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions.
Interrogatories are written questions that are served on an opposing party.
A request for production (RFP) is a legal request for documents, electronically stored information (ESI), or other items.
A deposition allows you to ask questions of a witness under oath. This is an out-of-court proceeding (where the judge is not present to supervise the examination). The oral testimony of the witness is recorded by a court reporter (and usually reduced to writing in a transcript for later use in court or for discovery purposes).
This is by no means a detailed or in-depth discussion of discovery. The rules of civil procedure that govern discovery are detailed and you should retain litigation counsel if you are in litigation.
This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
you shoud really hire a lawyer to help you through discovery. It is highly technical and I often see people do great damage to their cases because of poor discovery workups. Good luck.