Discovery: Interrogatories

Burnside Lund v. St. Paul [12/06/01] 2001 MTWCC 62 The Workers' Compensation Court will not order a party to answer a contention interrogatory which asks for mental impressions of opposing counsel or which are so broad that they call for opposing counsel to lay out every item of evidence which might support the party's contention. If the Rules of Civil Procedure contemplate such interrogatory, this Court refuses to adopt such rule and is not required to do so. Such interrogatories lead to delay and mischief and are inappropriate in light of the expedited nature of Workers' Compensation Court proceedings.
Killion v. State Fund [5/13/98] 1998 MTWCC 40 Motion to compel denied where interrogatories are largely duplicative of earlier interrogatories which respondent answered, or plainly go beyond information relevant to claimant's constitutional challenge to provision that death benefits payable to a widow cease upon remarriage.

Fisch v. State Fund [9/13/00] 2000 MTWCC 55 Where a party fails to timely object to interrogatories, its objections shall generally be deemed waived except as to materials that a non-party has a privilege or constitutionally protected interest. Whether the doctrine should be extended to personal privileges of a party, the Court reserves judgment. Further, even though objections are waived, the Court will not compel answers to patently irrelevant, wholly improper, or patently burdensome and onerous discovery. Here, information sought by interrogatories involved rates paid for domiciliary care, raising no issues of privilege or privacy regarding rates paid in institutional setting. Rate information prior to claimant's injury was patently irrelevant and need not be produced.

Taves v. AIU Ins. Co. [11/30/99] 1999 MTWCC 76 Where sole issue was whether claimant should be referred to medical center in Denver for treatment of pulmonary condition which insurer accepted as occupational disease, claimant objected to interrogatories asking for information about other medical conditions or medications taken for other conditions. Claimant was ordered to provide basic medical information about other medical conditions from which she now suffers or has suffered since the onset of her pulmonary condition and about medications she has taken since that onset, as those other medical conditions and medications, per a doctor's testimony, could impact evaluation and treatment of the respiratory condition.
State Fund v. Montana Sign, Skinner Enterprises, Lifestyle Homes and Andy Skinner [11/24/99]1999 MTWCC 74, 74A In a case involving whether claimant was injured in the course and scope of an employment covered by a policy with State Fund, interrogatories seeking information about construction projects of respondents not close in time to the alleged injury are overbroad in time; respondents' objections to those interrogatories are sustained. The remaining interrogatories, designed to obtain information about employment of other people by the companies in question, and contractor-subcontractor relationships, are appropriate.
StateFund v. Montana Sign, Skinner Enterprises, Lifestyle Homes and Andy Skinner [11/24/99]1999 MTWCC 74, 74A Where subparts contained within interrogatories merely specify the information needed to answer the interrogatory, they should not be counted as separate interrogatories for purposes of determining whether the number of interrogatories exceeded the Court's limitation of 20 interrogatories (ARM 24.5.323(6)).
Mark Fjelstad v. Fireman's Fund [10/15/99] 1999 MTWCC 62 Claimant sought to compel answers to interrogatories about relationship between insurer and physician who performed independent medical examination, including number of IMEs particular physician had performed for insurer within last six years and total yearly compensation to physician, and to compel production of documents relating to same. While claimant is entitled to ask the Court to evaluate this physician's credibility in light of the frequency of his IMEs for this insurer, that point can be made without broad or unduly burdensome discovery. Respondent ordered to identify the total annual number of independent medical examinations the doctor has conducted at the request of the insurer over the last three year period, and the amount of compensation paid to the doctor by the insurer for such work. If that information is not readily available, the insurer may respond with an estimate for both. The request for any additional information, and for documents, is overly broad and burdensome.
Jacques v. Borden, Inc. [3/20/97] 1997 MTWCC 15 An attorney for a corporate respondent insurer may sign interrogatory answers. While the rules of the Workers' Compensation Court make no provision for signature by an attorney for a corporation on interrogatory answers, precedent of federal courts, under rules identical to the M.R.Civ.Pro., allows an attorney to sign such answers. Moreover, under ARM 24.5.303(7), an attorney's signature to any document in the WCC is his/her certification that it is made to the best of his/her knowledge, information and belief. Sanctions awarded against petitioner's counsel for filing a motion obviously part of "hardball" litigation tactics, not based on any real concern in this particular case.
Byun v. Alexis Risk Management [12/05/94] 1994 MTWCC 108 The purpose of written discovery is to provide meaningful information relevant to the issues of the case. The rule allowing discovery was not intended as a weapon to be used merely to increase the work and litigation costs of the party opponent.
Byun v. Alexis Risk Management [12/05/94] 1994 MTWCC 108 If the matters identified in interrogatories were fully explored and adequately answered in a deposition, it would be oppressive to require the answering party to restate the information in answer to interrogatories. It is also unnecessary for the deponent’s counsel to go through a previously taken deposition and identify the page number where information appears. Petitioner is required only to state whether her deposition provided all the information sought by the interrogatory. If the deposition did not so provide, claimant must supplement her deposition testimony in response to the interrogatories.