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Court How-Tos (Civil Procedure)

This article explains what interrogatories are.

Learn more about interrogatories, what to do if you are the responding party, what you can object to, and how much time you have to answer. 

Warning: Interrogatories are particularly difficult and require a deep understanding of the law. Seek an attorney’s help when navigating interrogatories, 

What are interrogatories?

Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 197 governs interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions sent by one party to another to gather specific information about details of specific events, occurrences, and more. By exchanging written questions and responses, both sides can gain a clearer understanding of the facts, identify potential evidence, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions. 

What does the party that receives the interrogatories have to do?

The party who receives the interrogatories is the responding party and they are required to respond in writing, under oath, and to truthfully state the facts as the party understands them. 

How do I respond to interrogatories?

You should respond to each interrogatory in the order received as well as retype each interrogatory, and then follow each with your answer.  

Do I need to respond to everything?

Yes. But you are allowed to object to certain requests. 

What can I object to?

You can object to certain records that are privileged, vague, ambiguous, overbroad, and much more. For example, medical records may be privileged or just not relevant to your current case, and information about prior lawsuits may not be relevant or the request could be information that the other party already has equal access to. 

Note: Objections can be tricky, and complicated. Making objections takes a deep understanding of the law. We highly recommend that you seek the help of an attorney. 

How much time does the responding party have to answer interrogatories?

The responding party generally has 30 days to answer interrogatories from the date of service. Talk to a lawyer if you are not sure about the deadline. 

What if I ignore the discovery requests?

If a party fails to respond to interrogatories within the prescribed time, the requesting party can file a motion to compel with the court. The motion will ask the court to order you to comply with the discovery requests. You are also at risk of facing sanctions, which can include fines, attorney's fees, or even dismissal of your case. Additionally, if you fail to comply with the court's order, you may be held in contempt of court, which can result in further penalties. 

Note: Ignoring discovery requests can have serious consequences for your case. If you are having difficulty complying with a discovery request, it may be wise to seek the advice of an attorney. 

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