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 due to a Request Lacking a Specific Description
During the discovery process, parties request and exchange relevant information in order to gauge the strength of each party’s case. The expectation is that the responding party will provide the information as requested in order to streamline the proceedings and perhaps even allow for the case to be settled out of court. However, if a request is too broad and general, the responding party may have difficulty knowing what information exactly the request includes. For example, in the case of Loftin v. Martin, the request was for all the information that supported the claims against the responding party. Loftin v. Martin, 776 S.W.2d 145, 148 (Tex. 1989). While the court agreed that the defendant had a right to request information, the court also emphasized that the request itself must include a “certain degree of specificity” if the plaintiff is expected to respond effectively. Tex. R. Civ. P. 196.1(b).
A proper objection might include the following language:
OBJECTION: This request fails to specify the items to be produced or inspected with reasonable particularity. TEX. R. CIV. P. 196.1(b); Loftin v. Martin, 776 S.W.2d 145, 148 (Tex. 1989).
Requesting information which follows the guidelines of Texas Rules for Civil Procedure can be a challenge. Seeking the help of a lawyer who is familiar with these rules will help a litigant avoid and/or properly respond to objections, ultimately saving time, effort, and money in the process.
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