CHAPTER 9 - 9-2 Interrogatories in General

JurisdictionUnited States

9-2 Interrogatories in General

Texas Rule 197 governs interrogatories—written questions propounded by one party to another.3 Like other written-discovery requests, interrogatories must be served no later than 30 days (and in some cases 31 or 33 days) before the discovery period ends4 but—in cases filed on or after January 1, 2021—not until after the responding party's initial disclosures are due.5

Interrogatories may inquire about any discoverable matter other than matters covered by Texas Rule 195, which relates to testifying experts.6 They are a relatively inexpensive method of discovery and, when properly worded, can be an effective way to obtain facts, narrow the issues, and obtain information to make proper use of other permissible forms of discovery.7

Interrogatories, like all other written discovery, must be signed by either the party's attorney or a pro se party.8 If they are not properly signed, they "must be stricken unless [they are] signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the [requesting] party[.]"9 Moreover, a responding party need not answer an interrogatory set that is not signed.10

Like other written-discovery devices, interrogatories are not filed,11 but must be served on all parties to the action.12 However, interrogatories, like other discovery materials, may be filed pursuant to a court order, in support of or in opposition to a motion or for other use in a court proceeding, and a person may file discovery materials necessary for a proceeding in an appellate court.13 In addition, the serving party "must retain the original or exact copy of [the interrogatories or interrogatory responses] during the pendency of the case and any related appellate proceedings begun within six months after judgment is signed, unless otherwise provided by the trial court."14



[3] Tex. R. Civ. P. 197.1 ("A party may serve on another party . . . written interrogatories."). The other Texas discovery rules relating to interrogatories are Rules 190-93, 195, and 215. Tex. R. Civ. P. 190-93, 195, 215.

Interrogatories cannot be served on nonparties. Tex. R. Civ. P. 197.1 ("A party may serve on another party . . . written interrogatories[.]") (emphasis added); cf. Obinyan v. Prime Therapeutics LLC, 3:18-CV-0933-D, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7168, at *2, 2021 WL 135983 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 14, 2021) ("As stated above, interrogatories directed to nonparties are not permitted under [Federal] Rule 33."); Univ. of Tex. v. Vratil, 96 F.3d...

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