Question Details:My father has been given a notice in the mail from a pplaintiff regarding a law suit. He is out of the country on family emergency. He has already filed request for continuance on a case management conference and it has been granted. However, he but did not give the plaintiff "Form Interrogatories" since he is out of the country, so the plaintiff has filed a motion regarding that. Idid give letter to court and plaintiff that he is currently out of the country and will be back in few months, but plaintiff still filed for motion. Do we need a litigation attorney to help with this?
Your situation is critical
If this lawsuit is important, you need to get an attorney quickly. A letter to the Court will not necessarily fix the problem. You can lose the entire case on a motion to compel if it is Requests for Admissions. If you do not respond prior to the Court date, the case is finished and you lost.
Call my office for legal assistance in this matter.
Robert J. Spitz
909 395 0909
I disagree with Mr. Spitz' sense of urgency because it sounds like it's just Form Interrogatories and not Requests for Admission.
Form Interrogatories are not nearly as important, although it is never a good idea to miss deadlines and/or have the court grant discovery motions against you. If the hearing is not postponed, the court will almost certainly grant the motion, and in doing so will compel your father to answer the interrogatories by a date certain. This date can easily be pushed out in light of the fact that your father is out of the country. However, there are two other concerns. One is that you have waived any right to object to the questions (e.g., to a certain extent, you cannot object on the ground of privilege), which is not a huge deal with Form Interrogatories, relatively speaking. And in any case, this is moot because objections have already been waived. You could theoretically try to get relief from this waiver under CCP Section 473 (inadvertent error/neglect), but this probably requires that he was already out of the country when he got the discovery, and it would be helpful if you can show that plaintiff knew that.
The other issue is sanctions. Again, the court will be unlikely to award sanctions against your father if the plaintiff knew that your father was out of the country and if your father was not simply ignoring his obligations in bad faith (although you never know what a judge will do).
I would agree with JMA above, in that it would be helpful in any case to have your dad write a letter/email to the plaintiff indicating that he will comply fully at his soonest opportunity.
If your dad feels that this case merits the use of an attorney eventually, it is best to hire one as soon as possible. But if he opts to represent himself pro se, then he should fully avail himself of the myriad litigation how-to self-help guides out there.
Best of luck to you both.
I am a lawyer in CT and practice in this area of the law. I suggest that you get in touch with your dad via email or cell phone and have him write a letter to the plaintiff letting him know that he will be complying with discovery when he returns. i would also send a copy fo the letter to the court so it has it on file. if your dad wants to file an objection to the motion on the grounds that he needs more time to comply as he is dealing with a medical emergency, then that is ok too. the court shold be understanding.