What are interrogatories?

There are many times during the course of a lawsuit when our clients have questions about some of the specific legal terms that come up. One such term is “interrogatory.” It sounds like “legalese,” but the basics of an interrogatory are fairly straightforward. So, what are interrogatories?

Interrogatories are a list of questions sent by one side to the other during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. The questions can be very specific – in fact, oftentimes attorneys who are preparing legal cases will do their best to make the questions as specific as possible so that the answer is short and to the point.

The number of questions that can be included in a list of interrogatories is typically capped by the rules of the court in which the case is filed. It is not uncommon to see 20 or more questions in a list of interrogatories. When the interrogatories are answered, the attorney on the other side may object to the questions for a variety of reasons. That, however, can sometimes lead to time-consuming and costly discovery disputes in the case.

Getting the facts

Of course, the entire point of interrogatories is to develop the facts in the case further as the matter proceeds toward a potential trial or alternative dispute resolution session. But, understanding the question that is being asked is crucial. At our law firm, we work with our clients during the discovery phase of each case so that they know how to respond to interrogatories and other discovery techniques, such as document requests and depositions.