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
A common error which can lead to an objection during the discovery process is making too many requests for interrogatories. According to the revised Rule 190.2, litigants can make only a limited number of requests for interrogatories, production, and admission, depending on the level of discovery in the case. Level 1 discovery control plan, for example, is limited to no more than 15 interrogatories, admissions, and requests for production. In contrast, a Level 2 case permits more interrogatories (as many as 25) and places no limit on the number of requests for production or admissions allowed. Understanding the level of the case is vital in order to avoid exceeding the number of interrogatories, requests for production, or admissions allowed by a litigant.
The number of interrogatories is further limited by the fact that, according to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 190.3 (B)(3), the “discrete subpart” of an interrogatory is actually counted as a separate interrogatory. Thus, one question with two subparts could actually count as three interrogatories in both Level 1 and Level 2 cases. However, because there is no formal definition of what exactly constitutes a “discrete subpart,” accurately determining whether a subpart of a question counts as a separate interrogatory is a challenge. In general, when the question asks for information that is not clearly connected with the primary interrogatory, that subpart to the question could be considered a separate interrogatory. A proper objection might include the following language: OBJECTION: This [interrogatory/admission/request for production] exceeds the amount of [interrogatories/admissions/requests for production] allowable pursuant to the TEXAS RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
While the discovery process can be helpful in streamlining a case and even lead to its being settled outside of court, objections during interrogatories may be appropriate at times. Working with a lawyer familiar with the many complexities of interrogatories will minimize the time, money, and effort spent responding to interrogatories during discovery.
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