Obsolete Date: 3/1/1997
(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 the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection must be stated in lieu of an answer. The answers are to be signed by the person making them, and the objections signed by the attorney making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served 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. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. A party shall restate the interrogatory being answered immediately preceding the answer to that interrogatory. 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.
A party is not required to answer an interrogatory that is repetitive of any interrogatory he 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.
(b) Scope--Use at Trial. Interrogatories may relate to any matters that can be inquired into under Rule 26(b), 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.
(c) 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; March 1, 2008; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2013; March 1, 2016.
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.
Paragraph (a)(3) was added, effective March 1, 2013, to limit the number of interrogatories a party may serve. Each party is allowed to serve 50 interrogatories on any other party, but must obtain leave of court (or a stipulation from the opposing party) to serve a larger number. Parties cannot evade this limitation by joining as "subparts" questions that seek information about discrete separate subjects. However, a question asking about communications of a particular type should be treated as a single interrogatory even though it requests that the time, place, persons present, and contents be stated separately for each such communication.
Paragraph (a)(3) was amended, effective March 1, 2016, to define the instances in which a subpart of an interrogatory does not constitute a separate interrogatory.
Paragraph (b)(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, 2015, pages 15-16; January 26-27, 2012, page 20-22; 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).