Interrogatories to Defendant for Motor Vehicle Accident
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive
summary of discovery law in South Dakota, but does include basic and other
A procedure designed to allow disclosure
of information between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Written questions,
oral questioning, document production and admissions requests are generally
allowed. Discovery was designed to prevent trial by ambush.
Written questions from Plaintiff to Defendant, or from Defendant to Plaintiff. The questions are mailed
to the Plaintiff, Defendant or the attorney for response in writing.
The answers or responses are usually due between 20-30 days.
A procedure where verbal questions are
asked a Plaintiff or Defendant for immediate response. Depositions
are usually recorded by a court reporter, who swears the person to tell
the truth before questioning begins.
Production of Documents:
The method of obtaining documents from the other party relevant to the case such as all documents a party
intends to introduce at trial.
Requests for Admissions:
Written questions where you request the other party to admit or deny some relevant fact.
Objections may be made to all discovery
questions if the questions are not relevant, or likely to lead to the discovery
of relevant evidence.
Civil Procedure Rules:
Virtually all states have adopted
a version of civil procedure rules which include rules dealing with discovery.
South Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure
South Dakota has adopted the Rules of Civil Procedure in Circuit
Courts. The rules of discovery are contained in Chapter 15-6, Sections
15-6-26 through 15-6-37.
Parties may obtain discovery by one or
more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examinations or written
questions, written interrogatories, production of documents or things or
permission to enter upon land or other property, physical and mental examinations,
and requests for admission. Section 15-6-26(a)
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter,
not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the
pending action. Section 15-6-26(b)
A party may through interrogatories require another
party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an
expert witness at trial. Section 15-6-26(b)(4)
Sequence and Timing of Discovery:
Unless the court orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence. Section 15-6-26(d)
Supplementation of Responses:
A party who has responded to a request for discovery with a response that was complete when made is
under no duty to supplement his response to information acquired, except
as follows: the party is under a duty seasonably to supplement his response
with respect to a question concerning the identity and location of persons
having knowledge of discoverable matters and the identity of each person
expected to be called as an expert witness at trial. A party is also
under a duty to amend a prior response if the party knows the response
was incorrect when made or he knows the response though correct when made
is no longer true. Section 15-6-26(e)
Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken:
Within the United States or within a territory subject to the dominion of the United States, depositions
shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the
laws of the United States, or the place where the examination is held,
or before a person appointed by the court in which the action is pending.
If the deposition is taken in a foreign country, it is proper to
take the deposition on notice before a person authorized to administer
oaths in the place in which the examination is held, or before a person
commissioned by the court, or pursuant to a letter rotary. Section 15-6-28(b)
Unless the court orders otherwise, the parties
may by written stipulation provide that depositions be taken at any time,
any place, and upon any notice. Section 15-6-29
Any party may serve upon another party written interrogatories to
be answered by the party served. Each interrogatory shall be answered separately
and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event
the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. Section 15-6-33
Any party may serve upon another party a request to produce certain
documents, not privileged, to be inspected and copied. Section 15-6-34(a)
Physical and Mental Examination of Persons
When the mental or physical condition of a party, is in controversy,
the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit
to a physical or mental examination by a physician or to produce for examination
the person in his custody or control. Section 15-6-35(a)
Requests for Admission
A party may serve upon any other party a written request for the
admission, of the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 15-6-26(b) set
forth in the request, including the genuineness of any documents described
in the request. Section 15-6-36(a)
A party, upon reasonable notice to the other parties may apply for
an order compelling discovery. If a party refuses to allow inspection or
fails to answer a question propounded or submitted under section 15-6-
30 or section 15-6-31, the discovering party may move for an order compelling
an answer. Section 15-6-37
Domestic Actions Discovery Notes
If you require extra time to respond to discovery, you should ask
the other side for an extension in writing. It may also be necessary
to enter an order granting the extension to protect your rights.
Discovery questions are limited in number so select the most important
questions to ask the other side. Don't waste your requests writing
questions that you already know the answer to.