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
discrete subparts. Interrogatory subparts are not counted as
13 if they are logically or factually subsumed within and necessarily related to the
14 primary question. Leave to serve additional interrogatories may be granted to the
15 extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(1)(B).
16 (b) Answers and objections.
17 (1) Responding party. The interrogatories must be answered:
18 (A) by the party to whom they are directed;
19 (B) if that party is a public or private corporation, a partnership, an
20 association, a governmental agency, or any other organization, by any officer or
21 agent, who must furnish the information available to the party.
22 (2) Time to respond. The responding party must serve its answer and any
23 objections within 30 days after being served with the interrogatories, but a
24 defendant is not required to serve its answer and any objections until 45 days after
25 service of the summons and complaint on it. A shorter or longer time may be
26 stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court. Any stipulated extension of
27 time applies to interrogatory answers and objections.
28 (3) Answering each interrogatory. Each interrogatory must, to the extent it
29 is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath. A party
30 must restate the interrogatory being answered immediately preceding its answer to
31 the interrogatory.
32 (4) Objections. The grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated
33 with specificity. Any ground not stated in a timely objection is waived unless the
34 court, for good cause, excuses the failure.
35 (5) Signature. The person who makes the answers must sign them, and the
36 attorney who objects must sign any objections.
37 (6) Repetitive question. A party is not required to answer an interrogatory
38 that is repetitive of any interrogatory it has already answered. An interrogatory
39 served by one party is considered to be served by all parties.
40 (c) Use. An answer to an interrogatory may be used to the extent allowed by
41 the Rules of Evidence.
42 (d) Option to produce business records. If the answer to an interrogatory
43 may be determined by examining, auditing, compiling abstracting, or summarizing
44 a party's business records (including electronically stored information), and if the
45 burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer will be substantially the same for
46 either party, the responding party may answer by:
47 (1) specifying the records that must be reviewed, in sufficient detail to
48 enable the interrogating party to locate and identify them as readily as the
49 responding party could; and
50 (2) giving the interrogating party a reasonable opportunity to examine and
51 audit the records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries.
52 EXPLANATORY NOTE
53 Rule 33 was amended, effective January 1, 1981; September 1, 1983;
54 March 1, 1992 on an emergency basis; July 14, 1993; March 1, 1997; March 1,
55 2004; March 1, 2008; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2013; March 1, 2016.
56 Rule 33 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the
57 December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language
58 and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood
59 and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
60 Paragraph (a)(3) was added, effective March 1, 2013, to limit the number of
61 interrogatories a party may serve. Each party is allowed to serve 50 interrogatories
62 on any other party, but must obtain leave of court (or a stipulation from the
63 opposing party) to serve a larger number. Parties cannot evade this limitation by
64 joining as "subparts" questions that seek information about discrete separate
65 subjects. However, a question asking about communications of a particular type
66 should be treated as a single interrogatory even though it requests that the time,
67 place, persons present, and contents be stated separately for each such
69 Paragraph (a)(3) was amended, effective March 1, 2016, to define the
70 instances in which a subpart of an interrogatory does not constitute a separate
72 Paragraph (b)(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2004, to clarify that any
73 stipulated extension applies to answers and objections.
74 Subdivision (d) was amended, effective March 1, 2008, in response to the
75 2006 federal revision. The amendments clarify that electronically stored
76 information is a type of business record.
77 Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 29-30, 2015,
78 pages 15-16; January 26-27, 2012, page 20-22; January 29-30, 2009, page 28;
79 September 28-29, 2006, page 20-22; January 30-31, 2003, pages 13-15; September
80 28-29, 1995, page 14; November 7-8, 1991, page 5; October 25-26, 1990, pages
81 17-18; February 17-18, 1983, pages 12-14; October 30-31, 1980, pages 19-20;
82 November 29-30, 1979, page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 33.
83 Cross Reference: N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing
84 Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P. 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure),
85 N.D.R.Civ.P. 34 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for
86 Inspection and Other Purposes), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to Make Discovery -
87 Sanctions); N.D.R.Ev. 510 (Waiver of Privilege by Voluntary Disclosure).