RULE 33. INTERROGATORIES TO PARTIES
1 (a) In general.
2 (1) Timing. A party may serve written interrogatories on the plaintiff after
3 commencement of the action and on any other party after service of the summons
4 and complaint on that party.
5 (2) Scope. An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired
6 into under Rule 26(b). An interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks
7 for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but
8 the court may order that the interrogatory need not be answered until designated
9 discovery is complete, or until a pretrial conference or some other time.
10 (3) Number. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party
11 may serve on any other party no more than 50 written interrogatories, including all
12 discrete subparts. Leave to serve additional interrogatories may be granted to the
13 extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(1)(B).
14 (b) Answers and objections.
15 (1) Responding party. The interrogatories must be answered:
16 (A) by the party to whom they are directed;
17 (B) if that party is a public or private corporation, a partnership, an
18 association, a governmental agency, or any other organization, by any officer or
19 agent, who must furnish the information available to the party.
20 (2) Time to respond. The responding party must serve its answer and any
21 objections within 30 days after being served with the interrogatories, but a
22 defendant is not required to serve its answer and any objections until 45 days after
23 service of the summons and complaint on it. A shorter or longer time may be
24 stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court. Any stipulated extension of
25 time applies to interrogatory answers and objections.
26 (3) Answering each interrogatory. Each interrogatory must, to the extent it
27 is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath. A party
28 must restate the interrogatory being answered immediately preceding its answer to
29 the interrogatory.
30 (4) Objections. The grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated
31 with specificity. Any ground not stated in a timely objection is waived unless the
32 court, for good cause, excuses the failure.
33 (5) Signature. The person who makes the answers must sign them, and the
34 attorney who objects must sign any objections.
35 (6) Repetitive question. A party is not required to answer an interrogatory
36 that is repetitive of any interrogatory it has already answered. An interrogatory
37 served by one party is considered to be served by all parties.
38 (c) Use. An answer to an interrogatory may be used to the extent allowed by
39 the Rules of Evidence.
40 (d) Option to produce business records. If the answer to an interrogatory
41 may be determined by examining, auditing, compiling abstracting, or summarizing
42 a party's business records (including electronically stored information), and if the
43 burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer will be substantially the same for
44 either party, the responding party may answer by:
45 (1) specifying the records that must be reviewed, in sufficient detail to
46 enable the interrogating party to locate and identify them as readily as the
47 responding party could; and
48 (2) giving the interrogating party a reasonable opportunity to examine and
49 audit the records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries.
50 EXPLANATORY NOTE
51 Rule 33 was amended, effective January 1, 1981; September 1, 1983; March 1,
52 1992 on an emergency basis; July 14, 1993; March 1, 1997; March 1, 2004; March
53 1, 2008; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2013. The explanatory note was amended,
55 Rule 33 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the
56 December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language
57 and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood
58 and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
59 Paragraph (a)(3) was added, effective March 1, 2013, to limit the number of
60 interrogatories a party may serve. Each party is allowed to serve 50 interrogatories
61 on any other party, but must obtain leave of court (or a stipulation from the
62 opposing party) to serve a larger number. Parties cannot evade this limitation by
63 joining as "subparts" questions that seek information about discrete separate
64 subjects. However, a question asking about communications of a particular type
65 should be treated as a single interrogatory even though it requests that the time,
66 place, persons present, and contents be stated separately for each such
67 communication. In general, interrogatory subparts are not counted as separate
68 interrogatories if they are logically or factually subsumed within and necessarily
69 related to the primary question.
70 Paragraph (b)(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2004, to clarify that any
71 stipulated extension applies to answers and objections.
72 Subdivision (d) was amended, effective March 1, 2008, in response to the
73 2006 federal revision. The amendments clarify that electronically stored
74 information is a type of business record.
75 Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of __________________;
76 January 26-27, 2012, page 20-22; January 29-30, 2009, page 28; September 28-29,
77 2006, page 20-22; January 30-31, 2003, pages 13-15; September 28-29, 1995, page
78 14; November 7-8, 1991, page 5; October 25-26, 1990, pages 17-18; February 17-
79 8, 1983, pages 12-14; October 30-31, 1980, pages 19-20; November 29-30, 1979,
80 page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 33.
81 Cross Reference: N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing
82 Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P. 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure),
83 N.D.R.Civ.P. 34 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for
84 Inspection and Other Purposes), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to Make Discovery -
85 Sanctions); N.D.R.Ev. 510 (Waiver of Privilege by Voluntary Disclosure).