Interrogatories in the McKinney Dog Bite Case
Interrogatories in the McKinney dog bite case was used to gather information from the defendant. In this case, we asked between 20 and 25 questions in the written interrogatories to the opposing party. We tend to ask fewer questions because if we ask them appropriately, we could follow up with oral depositions, which is easier. You are limited as far as the number of interrogatories. What you get with interrogatory answers are answers from the lawyer that are sworn to by the defendant, not the answers of the defendant.
What we are looking for in interrogatories are what their basic contentions are, whether they believe that my person that was injured was at fault in any way, and why they think that this person is at fault for their dog attacking them. We wanted to get the broad generalizations and the interrogatories that we could follow up with depositions.
Receiving Interrogatories From the Defendant
The client received interrogatories from opposing counsel. Usually, the defendants ask interrogatories for different reasons. They are trying to use the interrogatories to cut off or limit damages, or they are trying to set up the plaintiff for a motion for summary judgment on liability. They are trying to say that we should not have to go to trial because the plaintiff has no case at all. Therefore, the answers have to be carefully vetted when the questions come in.
The process of answering the set of questions is immediately when interrogatories come in to send them to the client with a due date for answering them, which is usually within the next ten days because we have 30 days from the day they come in to answer them fully. Our staff gathers the answers and the basic objections that are potentially available and puts all the interrogatory answers together on either my desk or the desk of my associates to go over the answers and the objections.
Specific Questions Asked to the Opposing Party
Some of the specific questions asked of our client in the defendant’s interrogatories were about what they were doing that day, what they were doing at the time leading up to it, and whether or not they had any intoxicants in their system. They asked specifically about the criminal background of the client and about the medical treatment that they had before that was potentially related. Also, they asked for medical treatment and information that the client had after this that the client believed was caused by the attack.
The opposing party asked for any other instances in which the client made any claims against anyone. The reason for that is defendants are in a position where some of them would like to show that the plaintiff is claims-happy to degrade this particular claim. We see that fairly often. They also asked what the client did to entice the dog to bite. In this case, our client never even saw the dog coming as the attack occurred from behind.