RULE 33. INTERROGATORIES TO PARTIES
(a) Availability--Procedures for Use. Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories to be answered by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. Interrogatories, without leave of court, may be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of summons and complaint upon that party.
(b) Answers and Objections.
(1) Each interrogatory must be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the objecting party shall state the reasons for objection and shall answer to the extent the interrogatory is not objectionable.
(2) The answers are to be signed by the person making them, and the objections signed by the attorney making them.
(3) The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served must
shall serve a copy of the answers, and objections if any, within 30 days after the service of the interrogatories, but a defendant may serve answers or objections within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. A shorter or longer time may be directed by the court or, in the absence of such an order, agreed to in writing by the parties subject to Rule 29. Any stipulated extension of time applies to interrogatory answers and objections.
(4) A party shall restate the interrogatory being answered immediately preceding the answer to that interrogatory.
(5) All grounds for an objection to an interrogatory must be stated with specificity. Any ground not stated in a timely objection is waived unless the party's failure to object is excused by the court for good cause shown.
(6) The party submitting the interrogatories may move for an order under Rule 37(a) with respect to any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory.
(7) A party is not required to answer an interrogatory that is repetitive of any interrogatory it has already answered. A party who has been served with a response to an interrogatory submitted by another party is to be regarded as having served the interrogatory.
(c) Scope; Use at Trial. Interrogatories may relate to any matters that can be inquired into under Rule 26(b)(1), and the answers may be used to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence.
An interrogatory otherwise proper is not necessarily objectionable merely because an answer to the interrogatory involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that such an interrogatory need not be answered until after designated discovery has been completed or until a pretrial conference or other later time.
(d) Option to Produce Business Records. If the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or ascertained from the business records of the party upon whom the interrogatory has been served or from an examination, audit or inspection of those business records, including a compilation, abstract or summary thereof, and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer is substantially the same for the party serving the interrogatory as for the party served, it is a sufficient answer to such interrogatory to specify the records from which the answer may be derived or ascertained and to afford to the party serving the interrogatory reasonable opportunity to examine, audit or inspect such records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts or summaries. A specification must be in sufficient detail to permit the interrogating party to locate and to identify, as readily as can the party served, the records from which the answer may be ascertained.
Rule 33 was amended, effective January 1, 1981; September 1, 1983; March 1, 1992 on an emergency basis; July 14, 1993; March 1, 1997; March 1, 2004.
Paragraph (b)(3) was amended, effective March 1, 2004, to clarify that any stipulated extension applies to answers and objections.
Paragraph (7) relieves a party from the need to answer the same interrogatory more than once and allows all parties the standing that was lacking in Olson v. A. W. Chesterton Co., 256 N.W.2d 530, 539 (N.D. 1977). The Joint Procedure Committee points out Vorachek v. Citizens State Bank, 421 N.W.2d 45 (N.D. 1988) holds objections must be served within the time for serving answers. Any extension must be in writing and should specify whether the extension includes answers, objections, or both.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 30-31, 2003, pages 13-15; September 28-29, 1995, page 14; November 7-8, 1991, page 5; October 25-26, 1990, pages 17-18; February 17-18, 1983, pages 12-14; October 30-31, 1980, pages 19-20; November 29-30, 1979, page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 33.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P. 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure), N.D.R.Civ.P. 34 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for Inspection and Other Purposes), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to Make or Cooperate in Discovery; Sanctions).