Objection to Requests That Are Vague, Ambiguous and/or Lack Specificity

Vague Request During Discovery in Texas

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
Overly Broad
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 Factssilblawfirm.com/…/objection-to-improper-request-of-persons-with-knowledge-of-relevant-facts
Premature Request
Request Seeks Admission of a Legal Proposition
Seeks Admission of Hearsay
Seeks Admission of a Matter of Opinion
Assertions of Privilege

Objections due to Requests That Are Vague, Ambiguous and/or Lack Specificity

The discovery process is an important part of litigation, allowing parties to exchange information and determine the scope and strength of their case. When a party receives a request, the expectation is that the responding party will provide the requested information. If, however, a request is so unclear that the responding party is unable to understand and respond, the responding party has a right to object to that vague request. According to Rule 196.1(b) of Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the request must be precise and exact as well as relevant to the case. Thus, a request for “any and all” evidence that does not specify more exactly the type and format of the evidence is objectionable because it is unreasonably vague and difficult to address. See Davis v. Pate, 915 S.W.2d 76, 78–79 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1996) (citing Texaco, Inc., 898 S.W.2d at 815); Loftin v. Martin, 776 S.W.2d 145, 148 (Tex. 1989).

A proper objection might include the following language:

OBJECTION: This request is so vague and ambiguous in that there are no means to identify the information being requested. TEX. R. CIV. P. 196.1(b); Davis v. Pate, 915 S.W.2d 76 (Tex. App.— Corpus Christi 1996, no writ).

The discovery process is instrumental in focusing and streamlining court proceedings. The rules and guidelines, though, are complex and exact. A lawyer familiar with litigation will help craft a case that follows those guidelines and leads to the most efficient, fair, and cost-effective outcome possible.

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