Bituminous Casualty Corporation v. Scottsdale Insurance Company et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 56 MOTION to Compel filed by Plaintiff Bituminous Casualty Corporation. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's Motion to Compel (#56) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that de fendant shall respond to plaintiff's Interrogatory 15 within 30 days of the close of discovery, except that defendant shall provide only "material" or "principal" facts in support of its contention. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 4/8/13. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BITUMINOUS CASUALTY CORP.,
SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE CO., et al.,
Case No. 1:12-CV-84-SNLJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion to compel (#56). Plaintiff served its
first set of interrogatories on defendant Farmers Insurance Company on November 28, 2012.
The parties are in disagreement over defendant’s response to Interrogatory 15. That
interrogatory, and defendant’s response, read as follows:
If it is your contention that Plaintiff is not entitled to equitable contribution
in this matter, please identify any and all facts in support of said contention.
ANSWER: Objection, premature, calls for a legal conclusion or in the
alternative, involves an opinion or conclusion that relates to fact or the application of law
to fact and therefore that answers should be deferred until discover has been completed,
work product, overly broad and vague. Mid-America Facilities, Inc. v. Argonaut Ins. Co.,
78 F.R.D. 497, 498 (E.D. Wis. 1978). Moses v. Halstead, 236 F.R.D. 667, 674 (D. Kan.
Plaintiff contends, quoting Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33, that “an interrogatory is not
objectionable merely because the answer involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or
the application of law to fact.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(2). That Rule goes on to state that “the
court may order that the interrogatory need not be answered until designated discovery is
complete, or until a pretrial conference or some other time.” Id.
Interrogatories such as this one are known as “contention interrogatories.” Contention
interrogatories may be helpful “in that they may narrow and define the issues for trial and enable
the propounding party to determine the proof required to rebut the responding party’s claim or
defense.” Moses, 236 F.R.D. at 674. Contention interrogatories may encompass several types of
They may ask another party to indicate what it contends, to state all the facts on
which it bases its contentions, to state all the evidence on which it bases its
contentions, or to explain how the law applies to the facts. They are distinct from
interrogatories that request identification of witnesses or documents that bear on
In re Grand Casinos, Inc., Sec. Litig., 181 F.R.D. 615, 618 (D . Minn.1998) (quoting McCarthy
v. Paine Webber Group, Inc., 168 F.R.D. 448, 450 (D. Conn.1996), quoted in Turner v. Moen
Steel Erection, Inc., No. 8:06CV227, 2006 WL 3392206, *4 (D. Neb. Oct. 5, 2006).
Notably, a contention interrogatory will be considered overly broad and unduly
burdensome “if it seeks ‘all facts’ supporting a claim or defense, such that the answering party is
required to provide a narrative account of its case.” Moses, 236 F.R.D. at 674; see also Turner,
2006 WL 3392206, at *4.
The Court agrees with defendant Farmers that the subject interrogatory deals with an
ultimate issue in the case, and the Court will sustain Farmers’s objection. In addition, the Court
agrees that the interrogatory is, on its face, overly broad and unduly burdensome to the extent it
asks Farmers to state “any and all facts” that support its contention. The Court will therefore
direct Farmers to answer the interrogatory within 30 days of the close of discovery, but the
Court will limit the interrogatory to the “material” or “principal” facts that support its
contention. See, e.g., Moses, 236 F.R.D. at 674.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (#56) is GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part, and
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant shall respond to plaintiff’s Interrogatory
15 within 30 days of the close of discovery, except that defendant shall provide only “material”
or “principal” facts in support of its contention.
Dated this 8th day of April, 2013.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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