The focus of this series is the various issues which cause objections during the discovery process, outlined below:
Permissibility of Discovery Tool
Number of Interrogatories
Outside the Scope of Discovery
Lacks Specific Description within Request
Vagueness, Lacks Specificity, or Ambiguity of Request
Information Obtainable from Another Source
Information Equally Available to the Other Party
Documents Already Produced
Request Creates Unnecessary Burden, Expense, or Made for Purposes of Harassment
Creation of Document not in Existence
Electronic and Magnetic Data
Personal, Constitutional or Property Rights
Inconvenient Time or Place
Information Unknown or Not in Possession of Responding Party
Persons with Knowledge of Relevant Facts
Request Seeks Admission of a Legal Proposition
Seeks Admission of Hearsay
Seeks Admission of a Matter of Opinion
Assertions of Privilege
Objection Because the Information Is Equally Available to the Other Party
Since the primary goal of the discovery process is the exchange of relevant information between parties involved in a claim, both parties are obligated by Texas Rules of Civil Procedure to follow guidelines which ensure that all requests reasonably lead to resolving the case. Any requests that do not follow those guidelines are subject to objections by the responding party. One of the most common reasons for an objection is due to a request for information which is already available to the requesting party. Such a request may ask for a duplication of information available from other sources. It may ask for information the responding party has already presented. It may be a request for information that the responding party does not have superior right to. All of these requests are objectionable, and Texas courts offer protection against such requests, particularly when the request wastes time, energy, and money by causing the responding party to duplicate its efforts, as outlined in Rule 192.4.
A proper objection might include the following language:
OBJECTION: The information requested is equally available to the requesting party. Graff v. Whittle, 947 S.W.2d 629, 639 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1997, writ denied).
Repeatedly requesting the same information may in fact be objectionable, but the situation is not as clear cut as it may seem. Rule 193.7 specifies that a duplicate request may not necessarily be objectionable if the request helps to authenticate and verify information. In re Sting Soccer Grp., LP, 2017 WL 5897454, at *7; see also Tex. R. Civ. P. 193.7.
The discovery process is an important part of resolving a case. Fully understanding which requests may be objectionable is a difficult task. Working with an experienced lawyer familiar with the detailed, complex guidelines of the Texas Rules for Civil Procedure is the best way to avoid common mistakes during the discovery process, saving time, effort, and money in the process.
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