Monday, March 5, 2012

Sample Plaintiff Interrogatories from the Best

I am a trial junky. I am always trying to improve my practice through any means necessary.  Often I find myself exploring what the best of the best do when confronted with a similar situation.  It took little time during the course of my time as a trial attorney in Pittsburgh to realize that trials are won and lost long before you pick a jury.  The trial is the culmination of all your hard work discovering the facts necessary to win your case.  The greatest trial attorney in the country is dead meat in front of a jury if he failed to develop the facts necessary to establish the case.  The best attorneys, among other things, are the best investigators.

So it's the pre-trial investigation, the discovery period, the changes the game.  You can't just send a round of interrogatories and leave it at that.  Defendants constantly test your resolve.  I typically have all my critical questions responded to with non-responsive objections like "overly broad and unduly burdensome...blah blah blah."  This is not the time to throw up your hands and move on but rather the time to put your foot down and file a motion to compel proper responses.  Defendants often need a Court Order for them to do what they should have done from the start (the reasons for this are numerous).

But before you get to filing motions to compel, additional rounds of discovery requests, depositions and the like, you need to start off with a great round of initial interrogatories.

There is an absolutely tragic (massive understatement) lawsuit unfolding, right now, in Allegheny County.  It involves a young mother who was electrocuted to death from a downed power line.  The plaintiffs, the family of the woman, have enlisted the help of one of the best law firms in Pennsylvania, Kline Specter.  Because this is an Allegheny County case, we are privy to many of the documents filed on the court docket which become public record.  One of those documents I was able to secure were the Plaintiff's initial interrogatories to the defendants.  I have posted them below so other attorneys can see how a top-tier firm approaches discovery from the outset.  The key point to keep in mind, however, is that you can bet that plaintiff's counsel did a great deal of independent investigation and consulting with experts before these initial interrogatories were sent out.  Nonetheless, a lot can be learned by studying these interrogatories.  Though these interrogatories are public information, I have redacted some of the personal information out of respect for the parties to the matter.

PA Plaintiff Interrogatories

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