Part 4: Interrogatories and Document Production Requests
Part three of this series focuses on the newly mandated initial disclosures. You can find a link to that discussion here. Part four will focus on the next steps of the discovery process: interrogatories and requests for the production of documents.
Interrogatories are sets of written questions one party sends to the other. Each question should seek specific information pertaining to your lawsuit. The party answering the interrogatories must do so under oath. Thus, it is important to answer each interrogatory as precisely as possible so that your answers cannot be used against you later.
Before January 1, 2020, there was no limit on the number of interrogatories one party could send to the other. With the addition of initial disclosures, the Michigan Court Rules now limit each party to 20 written interrogatories for civil cases. The reasoning behind this number is that the initial disclosures provide for a lot of the information that would have been traditionally sought in interrogatories. Further, each interrogatory may have additional questions in subparts, so long as each subpart is substantially related to the initial question. If a subpart is determined to be “discrete” (or not substantially related), it will be identified as a separate interrogatory and count as part of the 20. As such, it is important to properly craft each question and subpart to get the most information possible.
A request for the production of a document is just as it sounds: a request from one party to the other to produce a certain document or set of documents. “Document” can be defined broadly as encompassing everything from text messages, emails, physical documents, electronically stored information, and more. The documents received can be used to prove or disprove liability, impeach a witness, show bias, and more. There is no limit to these productions, and it is important to request any and all documents that could lead to evidence that supports your case.
In summary, with the addition of initial disclosures, discovery through interrogatories is limited. Gone are the days of submitting 80 pages of questions to ensure every question is covered. Instead, initial disclosures must be carefully examined to see what information is missing, what information does not line up, and what questions need to be asked next. Interrogatories must then be carefully crafted to ensure you can inquire into everything you need within the 20-question limit.
If you have been sued and need to understand your options, please contact Grewal Law PLLC online to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Michigan attorney today.