RULE 33. INTERROGATORIES TO PARTIES
Availability-Procedures for use In
General. 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
(1) Timing. A party may serve written interrogatories on the plaintiff after commencement of the action and on any other party after service of the summons and complaint on that party.
(2) Scope. An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b). An interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that the interrogatory need not be answered until designated discovery is complete, or until a pretrial conference or some other time.
(b) Answers and Objections.
(1) Responding Party.
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.
The interrogatories must be answered:
(A) by the party to whom they are directed;
(B) if that party is a public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental agency, or any other organization, by any officer or agent, who must furnish the information available to the party.
(2) Time to Respond.
The answers are to be signed by the person making them,
and the objections signed by the
attorney making them.
The responding party must serve its answer and any objections within 30 days after being served with the interrogatories, but a defendant is not required to serve its answer and any objections until 45 days after service of the summons and complaint on it. A shorter or longer time may be stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court. Any stipulated extension of time applies to interrogatory answers and objections.
(3) Answering Each Interrogatory.
The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served
must 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
Each interrogatory must, to the extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath. A party must restate the interrogatory being answered immediately preceding its answer to the interrogatory.
A party shall restate the interrogatory being answered
immediately preceding the answer
to that interrogatory.
The grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated with specificity. Any ground not stated in a timely objection is waived unless the court, for good cause, excuses the failure.
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.
The person who makes the answers must sign them, and the attorney who objects must sign any objections.
(6) Repetitive Question.
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
submitted by another party is to be regarded as having served the interrogatory.
interrogatory served by one party is considered to be served by all parties.
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.
An answer to an interrogatory may be used to the extent allowed by the Rules of Evidence.
(d) Option to Produce Business Records.
If the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or
ascertained from the business records,
including electronically stored information, 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.
If the answer to an interrogatory may be determined by examining, auditing, compiling abstracting, or summarizing a party's business records (including electronically stored information), and if the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer will be substantially the same for either party, the responding party may answer by:
(1) specifying the records that must be reviewed, in sufficient detail to enable the interrogating party to locate and identify them as readily as the responding party could; and
(2) giving the interrogating party a reasonable opportunity to examine and audit the records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries.
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; March 1, 2008; March 1, 2011.
Rule 33 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2004, to clarify that any stipulated
extension applies to answers and objections.
Subdivision (d) was amended, effective March 1, 2008, in response to the 2006 federal revision. The amendments clarify that electronically stored information is a type of business record.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 29-30, 2009, page 28; September 28-29, 2006, page 20-22; 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 Discovery - Sanctions); N.D.R.Ev. 510 (Waiver of Privilege by Voluntary Disclosure).