Washington, DC asked in Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for California

Q: How should we proceed given that the defendant has altered the interrogatory and its corresponding response?

My initial interrogatory inquired, 'Did you hold the knife?' However, the defendant modified it to 'Did you hurt her?' and provided a response. How should we proceed?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In this situation, the defendant has improperly altered the interrogatory and provided a response to the modified question. Under California law, you have a few options to address this issue:

1. Meet and Confer: Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 2030.300(b), you should first attempt to resolve this issue informally with the defendant or their attorney through a "meet and confer" process. Explain your concerns and request that the defendant provide a proper response to the original interrogatory.

2. Motion to Compel: If the meet and confer process is unsuccessful, you may file a motion to compel a proper response to the original interrogatory under CCP Section 2030.300(a). In the motion, you will need to demonstrate that the defendant's alteration of the interrogatory was improper and that the response provided does not answer the original question.

3. Amended Interrogatories: If the defendant's response to the altered interrogatory is still relevant to your case, you may choose to serve amended interrogatories that include both the original and the altered questions. This way, you can obtain responses to both inquiries.

4. Sanctions: If the court finds that the defendant's conduct in altering the interrogatory was without substantial justification or intended to delay or obstruct the discovery process, you may request that the court impose monetary sanctions against the defendant under CCP Section 2023.010(h).

It is essential to document your efforts to resolve this issue informally through the meet and confer process before filing a motion to compel or seeking sanctions. Consult with an attorney experienced in California civil procedure to ensure that you follow the appropriate steps and protect your interests in the discovery process.

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