Plaintiffs argued that Defendant’s response to interrogatories were improper under Rule 33(d). Defendant argued Plaintiffs’ responses to interrogatories were improper under Rule 33(c).
Under Rule 33(d), the answer to an interrogatory must specify where in the records the answer is located. Under Rule 33(c), response to interrogatories may be in the form of an opinion or contention related to fact or the application of the law to fact.
A number of individual (Plaintiffs) sued Boeing North American, Inc. (Defendant) for exposing Plaintiffs and their property to radioactive and toxic chemicals released from Defendant’s facilities. During discovery, Plaintiffs served Defendant with interrogatories. Defendants responded to the interrogatories with narratives and stating that the answers could be found in Defendant’s business records. Plaintiffs argued these response were improper under Rule 33(d). Similarly, Defendant argued that Plaintiffs responses to interrogatories were contentions, improper under Rule 33(c).
Are unindexed business records a sufficient response to an interrogatory, under Rule 33(d)? Are contentions sufficient responses to an interrogatory, under Rule 33(c)?
No, Plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery is partially granted. Yes, Defendant’s motion to compel discovery is denied.
The Court determined that the Defendant’s business records were improper response under Rule 33(d) because the records were not indexed to show the location of the answer. However, the Court found no issue with the narrative responses. The Court determined that the Plaintiffs’ contentions were proper responses under Rule 33(c) because they were related to facts which could be inferred, specific to the questions asked.