United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
William P. Lynch, United States Magistrate Judge.
Wendell and Steven Sweet filed a motion to compel “full
and complete supplemental responses” to certain
discovery requests from Defendant Daniel Valentine. (Doc.
107.) Valentine filed a response in opposition to the motion
(Doc. 114), and Plaintiffs filed a reply (Doc. 117).
Plaintiffs propounded interrogatories and requests for
production to Valentine on September 6, 2016. (Docs. 100,
108.) They argue that Valentine's responses to
Interrogatories 2-8 and Requests for Production 1-5 are
insufficient and evasive. After this motion was filed,
Valentine provided supplemental responses on December 6,
2016. (Docs. 115, 116.) In reply, Plaintiffs' contend
that supplemental responses remain deficient as to
Interrogatories 2-7 and Requests for Production 1, 2, 4, and
5. Having reviewed the briefing and the relevant law, and
being otherwise fully informed on these matters, I grant the
motion to compel.
Rule of Civil Procedure 33, governing interrogatories to
parties, provides that “interrogatories must be
answered (A) by the party to whom they are directed . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(1). Additionally, “[e]ach
interrogatory must, to the extent it is not objected to, be
answered separately and fully in writing under oath.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3). A party objecting to an interrogatory
must specify its grounds for the objection. Fed.R.Civ.P.
33(b)(4); e.g., Doe v. Nat'l Hemophilia
Found., 194 F.R.D. 516, 520 (D. Md. 2000). Any objection
not raised or not raised with specificity is waived.
Miller v. Pruneda, 236 F.R.D. 277, 281 (N.D. W.Va.
2004). An incomplete or evasive answer is not considered an
answer, but rather a failure to answer. Villareal v. El
Chile, Inc., 266 F.R.D. 207, 212 (N.D. Ill. 2010)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4)).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34, a party must either
produce documents responsive to a request for production
(“RFP”) or “state with specificity the
grounds for objecting to the request, including the
reasons” and “state whether any responsive
materials are being withheld on the basis of that
objection.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2). As with
interrogatories, general objections to a request for
production are insufficient and will be overruled. See
Convertino v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 565 F.Supp.2d
10, 12-13 (D.D.C. 2008).
initial matter, it appears that Valentine did not sign or
verify his responses. Failure to verify an answer to an
interrogatory renders that answer incomplete.
Villareal, 266 F.R.D. at 212. Rule 33 is clear that
interrogatories must be answered and signed by the party to
whom they are directed. See Cabales v. United
States, 51 F.R.D. 498, 499 (S.D.N.Y. 1970). On this
basis, Valentine's answers to the Interrogatories are
incomplete. Valentine has fourteen days from the date of
entry of this Order to provide complete answers, including
No. 2: Interrogatory No. 2 asked Valentine to provide
information about his employment history for the last ten
For the last ten years, for every company for which you have
provided services, worked at, owned, or were an officer,
director, employee or independent contractor (including
a. identify (i.e., state the full name, all known
addresses and telephone numbers) the company;
b. state your role, title and provide a description of the
duties you were assigned or the services you provided;
c. state the dates of your association with the company;
d. state how you were compensated for your services;
e. identify your immediate supervisor; and
f. describe in detail the reason you stopped working for or
providing services to the company.
(Doc. 117 Ex. 1 at 2.) Plaintiffs contend that
Valentine's original and supplemental answers were
incomplete and evasive. Valentine unilaterally limited the
request to the last five years and provided incomplete
information for two entities with which he was associated,
and objected that the Interrogatory was “overbroad and
unduly burdensome” and not reasonably calculated to
lead to admissible evidence. (Id. at 3.) In response
to the motion, Valentine contends that Plaintiffs are on a
fishing expedition and that Interrogatory No. 2 was
“over broad and unduly burdensome, ” but that he
provided information on relevant business.
provided no authority for limiting his response to five years
or for providing incomplete information. Additionally, this
case was filed in 2013 and has been delayed for three years.
I agree with the Plaintiffs that ten years is a reasonable
time period under the circumstances. Further, Valentine
failed to explain how this Interrogatory is “unduly
burdensome.” Finally, Valentine cited no authority for
unilaterally limiting the Interrogatory. This case involves
claims of deception and corporate cloaking. Under the
circumstances, I agree with the Plaintiffs' that
Valentine's response to Interrogatory No. 2 was
insufficient. Within fourteen days from the date of entry of
this Order, Valentine will provide a full response to
Interrogatory No. 2. Valentine is reminded that he is
required to verify his response to this Interrogatory and to
certify under oath that the response is complete.
No. 3: Interrogatory No. 3 stated:
Concerning your association with Audubon Financial Bureau,
a. describe all activities you have performed for or on
behalf of AFB and the dates for which you performed these
b. state whether you have ever been involved in a decision to
hire or fire any AFB ...