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O’Connor v. Boeing North American, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    O’Connnor sued Boeing North American, Inc. (Boeing) for exposure to radioactive and toxic chemicals wrongfully discharged by Boeing.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Business records are a sufficient response to written interrogatories if they provide an index for large records.

    Facts.

    O’Connnor sued Boeing North American, Inc. (Boeing) for exposure to radioactive and toxic chemicals wrongfully discharged by Boeing. O’Connor sought interrogatories regarding the chemicals used at Boeing’s facilities and test results for the presence of the substances at neighboring facilities. Neither party provided sufficient answers to the interrogatories.

    Issue.

    Whether business records are a sufficient response to written interrogatories?

    Held.

    Yes. The plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery is partially granted and the defendant’s motion to compel discovery is denied. The defendants failed to comply with FRCP 33(d) because the business records were not properly indexed. The defendants’ narrative answers, however, do satisfy FRCP 33. The plaintiffs also adequately answered the interrogatories posed by the defendants.

    Discussion.

    FRCP 33 allows parties to send written questions to each other throughout the discovery process. FRCP 33(d) allows parties to use business records as a response to written interrogatories. FRCP 33(d) should be used to provide answers to interrogatories, rather than avoid interrogatories. Business records should be put into a CD-ROM along with an index created by the parties.


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