Any construction litigation party faced with responding to California’s standard form interrogatories is all too familiar with the confusing use of the undefined term “incident” and the largely inapplicable “personal injury” interrogatories in a construction case. Similarly, any construction litigator dealing with the standard form interrogatories has felt the burden of sifting through the plethora of boilerplate objections received in response. Last week, the Judicial Council of California addressed those issues by approving use of the new Form Interrogatories – Construction Litigation (DISC-005). Of note, these new interrogatories will:

  • Allow for reference to document depositories commonly used in construction cases;
  • Drop the personal injury interrogatories too often inapplicable to construction; and
  • Replace the recurring term “incident” with “construction claim” or “construction defect claim."

The Judicial Council of California will post the approved form on its website in December 2012, and the form will become effective January 1, 2013.  For those wanting a sneak peek, the draft form is available as attached to Agenda Item A10 from the Judicial Council’s October 25-26, 2012, meetings, available here.

Greater specificity to construction actions should allow the new form to better serve the purpose of California’s Civil Discovery Act. Also, these new construction-specific interrogatories may catch on in future years and serve as an investigative framework for construction claims in other states.