Brief Fact Summary. Parties were unable to agree on the propriety of certain
interrogatories, so they sought judicial oversight and relief.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The pretrial discovery process should be executed by the
individual parties and should have minimal judicial intervention.
Issue. When should Plaintiffs answer contention interrogatories served by Defendants?
Held. Plaintiffs are excused from responding to the contention interrogatories until the
parties had completed a substantial amount of discovery, specifically document
The spirit of Rule 26 and Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
have been violated. Strong evidence exists in this case that there was a
breakdown of what is supposed to be a self-executing system of pretrial
discovery under Rule 26. Rule 1, which was also violated, declares that
the purpose of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to secure the just,
speedy and inexpensive determination of every action. Amendments to
Rule 26 require good faith and common sense on the part of counsel. In
other words, counsel must ask themselves what information they need to
know and what the most effective way of getting it.
Discussion. The purpose of discovery is to avoid surprise and delay, to go to trial with
the best evidence available to prove the party’s contentions, and with knowledge of the
adversary’s presentation of the case.