Interrogatories — More on Signature by Counsel

In distinction to the Fifth Circuit decision in Sample v. Miles, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 3027 (5th Cir. Feb. 9, 2007) (posting of February 17, 2007), which required an individual (rather than counsel) to sign interrogatories directed to that individual, see Heartland Surgical Specialty Hospital v. Midwest Division, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16816 (D. Kan. March 8, 2007), which involved interrogatory answers by a corporation. Magistrate Judge Donald Bostwick observes that because Rule 33 allows either a corporate officer or agent to answer interrogatories, ‛it clearly authorizes answers by an attorney.“ The dispute in Heartland was whether the corporate plaintiff was obliged to answer interrogatories where the answers were known only to its counsel (the answer was Yes). This devolved to the question whether the corporation could avoid answering on the ground that it didn't want to lose its counsel to a disqualification motion if counsel signed the interrogatory answers. Held: "[I]f the discovery is otherwise appropriate, [plaintiff] cannot avoid discovery based on a remote possibility that counsel signing the discovery [response] might be deposed or might be the subject of a disqualification motion in the future."

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