Responding to Interrogatories in California​

 In Practice Pointers

Responding to Interrogatories in California

Overview of California Interrogatories

In California’s superior court system, responding to interrogatories in an unlimited civil case involves navigating a myriad of procedural rules and best practices. 


This article provides a comprehensive guide to effectively managing interrogatory responses, including understanding deadlines, modifying response times, handling objections, and formatting responses. 


By delving into the California Code of Civil Procedure and relevant case law, litigation attorneys can gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in responding to interrogatories and better represent their clients in court.  

Interrogatory Obligations

Parties have an obligation to furnish all reasonably available information when responding to interrogatories, as required by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.220(a) and (c). This includes information known by counsel or held by organizational parties, such as officers, employees, and former employees, as established in cases like Scheiding v. Dinwiddie Constr. Co., 69 Cal. App. 4th 64, 76 (1999). If an interrogatory cannot be answered completely, it must be answered to the extent possible, in accordance with Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.220(b) and § 2030.240(a).  


Drafting Interrogatory Responses


Responses to interrogatories should be formatted like court filings, with the case and court information, and include the name of the responding party, the propounding party, and the set number, as directed by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.210(b) and Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 3.1000(a). Each response should be numbered, complete, and straightforward. Objections must be stated clearly and specifically, as outlined in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.240(b).  

Rules for Responding to Interrogatories   

When answering an interrogatory, the response should be as complete and straightforward as possible, based on the information reasonably available to the responding party, as mandated by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.220(a) and established in cases like Hernandez v. Superior Ct., 112 Cal. App. 4th 285, 294 (2003). Factually deficient interrogatory responses can shift the burden on summary judgment, as demonstrated in Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, 18 Cal. App. 5th 908, 934 (2017).  

Objection to Interrogatories 

Valid objections may include compound, conjunctive, or disjunctive interrogatories, as prohibited by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.060(f); questions that are not self-contained, as specified in Catanese v. Superior Court, 46 Cal. App. 4th 1159, 1164 (1996); cumulative, duplicative, or unduly burdensome requests, as restricted by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2019.030 and 2030.090; irrelevant information, as defined by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2017.010, 2019.030, and 2030.010; requests exceeding the interrogatory limit, as established in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.030 et seq.; premature contention interrogatories, as cautioned in Judicial Council Form Interrogatories-General (Form DISC-001), Sec. 2(d); and requests seeking privileged or protected information, as detailed in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2018.020 et seq. and 2030.240(b), among others.  

Client Verification   

Interrogatory responses must be signed under oath by the party to whom they are directed and, if objections are included, by the party’s attorney, as required by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.250(a) and (c). If the responding party is a corporation, partnership, association, or governmental agency, an officer or agent of the entity must verify the responses, as stated in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.250(b).  

Serving the Interrogatories

Responses to interrogatories are served on the parties but not filed with the court unless relevant to a motion or other court hearing, according to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.260 and Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 3.250(a)(8). They must be served within 30 days of service, along with a proof of service, as outlined in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 1013a, 1013b, and 2030.260(c).  

Supplemental Your Interrogatories   

If a party determines that a prior interrogatory answer is incorrect or incomplete, they may serve an amended or supplemental answer, as allowed by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.310(a). However, parties do not have an ongoing obligation to supplement their interrogatory responses, as highlighted in R & B Auto Ctr., Inc. v. Farmers Grp., Inc., 140 Cal. App. 4th 327, 358 (2006) and Biles v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 124 Cal. App. 4th 1315, 1325 (2004).  

Deadline for Responding to Interrogatories

In general, parties must respond to interrogatories within 30 days of service, as mandated by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.260(a). However, the 30-day deadline may be extended depending on the method of service, as outlined in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 1010.6, 1013, and 2016.050. For electronic or overnight delivery, the extension is two court days. If the interrogatories were served by mail, the extension is five calendar days for in-state mail, ten calendar days for out-of-state mail, and twenty calendar days for international mail.  


Asking for More Time


The deadline for responding to interrogatories may be shortened or extended through a court order or a stipulation between the parties, as provided by Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.260(a) and 2030.270. Parties should generally grant first requests for extensions unless abused or time-sensitive, in line with professional courtesy and to avoid unnecessary requests for judicial intervention. A written stipulation specifying the new deadline is necessary and, unless stated otherwise, does not waive the objections of the responding party, according to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.270(b) and (c). If a stipulation cannot be reached, court approval is required under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.060(a).  

Failing to Respond on Time

Failing to timely respond to interrogatories may result in waiving any objections or the right to produce documents in lieu of a narrative response, as stated in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.290(a). However, the court may relieve the responding party from this waiver if they can demonstrate that their failure was due to mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, and they have since provided a substantially compliant response, per Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.290(a)(1) and (2).  



Effectively responding to interrogatories in California requires adherence to specific procedural rules and a thorough understanding of best practices. 


By mastering these intricacies and referencing the California Code of Civil Procedure and relevant case law, litigation attorneys can efficiently manage interrogatory responses and better represent their clients in court.

How Briefpoint Can Help You

Discovery responses cost firms $23,240, per year, per attorney. $23,240 estimate assumes an associate attorney salary of $150,000 (including benefits – or $83 an hour), 20 cases per year/per associate, 4 discovery sets per case, 30 questions per set, 3.5 hours spent responding to each set, and 1800 hours of billable hours per year.


Under these assumptions, you save $20,477 using Briefpoint, per year, per attorney.

Test Briefpoint yourself by scheduling a demo here.

Recent Posts