Meet and Confer – Discovery Responses

Upon receipt of an opposing parties’ discovery responses, your countdown to compel further responses begins. The motion to compel further responses has to be brought within 45 days of service of the response (§CCP 2030.300). Thus, you should meet and confer on any deficiencies as soon as possible to allow time for you to review supplemental responses and prepare your motion to compel, if needed.

If a propounding party, upon receipt of a response to interrogatories, deems that an answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete that party may move for an order compelling a further response. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.300(a).) Prior to moving for an order compelling a further response, the propounding party needs to Meet and Confer pursuant to California Code of Civil procedure Section 2023.020.

When reviewing responses provided to by opposing counsel, you should ensure their responses meet the requirements governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. A party upon whom interrogatories or a demand for inspection have been propounded shall respond in writing, under oath, to each interrogatory and/or demand separately. (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.210; 2030.250; 2031.210; 2031.250.) Each answer in response to interrogatories shall be as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably permits. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.220(a).) This places a burden upon the responding party to conduct a reasonable good faith investigation to obtain information to be able to respond fully. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.300(c).)

If Opposing counsel asserts that the interrogatory of attorney work production, then you should ensure the objecting party has must provide “sufficient factual information” to enable the propounding party to “evaluate the merits of the claim, including, if necessary, a privilege log.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.240.)

Lastly, a propounding party should review discovery responses to ensure all interrogatories are responded to without an unmeritorious objection or evasive response. Misuse of the Discovery Act includes, but is not limited to, “(d) failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery; (e) making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery; (f) making an evasive response to discovery.” (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §2023.010.)

Do not forget though that the meet and confer process does not extend the 45 day limit within which you must file a motion to compel further responses. (Code Civ. Proc § 2031.310(c).)

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