Interrogatories are written questions sent by one party in a lawsuit to another party in that same suit, which the responding party must answer under penalty of perjury. Interrogatories allow the parties to ask who, what, when, where and why questions, making them a good method for obtaining new information.
There are two types of interrogatories: form interrogatories and special interrogatories. This guide will discuss special interrogatories; for information about form interrogatories, see our Step-by-Step guide on Form Interrogatories.
Special interrogatory questions are written by the parties. Writing customized questions allows the parties to obtain the specific information needed in their case. Each question should be written to establish a point the party needs to prove their case or to obtain information needed or to disprove the other party's case.
In a limited civil case (cases less than $25,000) you may ask each party only 35 questions total, whether they are form interrogatories, special interrogatories, requests for admission, or requests for production of documents. Keep this limit in mind when writing your requests, to ensure that you are able to obtain all the information you'll need for your case. If you ask the other party to answer 35 interrogatories, you will not be able to request any admissions or to request any documents. In an Unlimited Civil Case (over $25,000), parties may ask 35 special interrogatories.
There is no Judicial Council form for this procedure. Instead, the relevant document must be typed on 28-line pleading paper. A customizable template may be downloaded from this link:
Click below to download a step-by-step guide with sample forms and instructions:
Discovery: Special Interrogatories, Step by Step