Better Verify Those Supplemented Interrogatories

June 01, 1997

Sanctions for failing to properly supplement answers to interrogatories can be brutal.  In the face of improper supplementation, many trial courts forbid relevant witness testimony merely because that party failed to sign or verify the supplemental interrogatory which designates the witness.  This harsh sanction underscores the notion that the discovery rules governing supplementation are not "meaningless hoops" through which litigants must jump.
But, are the supplementation requirements clear?  In Texas, the rules are not clear and they provide little guidance on the proper supplementation procedures.  Specifically, the issue of whether supplemented interrogatories must be signed and verified by the litigant is not addressed by the Texas Rule of Civil Procedure nor has this been resolved by the Texas Supreme Court.
There is a clear split between those courts of appeal which do and those which do not mandate verification and signature of the party on all supplemented interrogatories.  This article explores those appellate court decisions, discusses the rules of civil procedure which led to the confusion, concluding that those courts favoring verification appear most aligned with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  Part II offers a historical and current view of Texas' pretrial discovery system; Part III explains Texas' supplementation requirements; Part IV analyzes the current split among Texas appellate courts concerning whether a party must verify a supplemental interrogatory; Part V presents the question of whether the Texas Supreme Court will resolve the verification issue; and Part VI concludes that verification will likely be found necessary by the Texas Supreme Court.

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