HI PAUL I Found the following in Federal cases and 9th circuit, can you tell me which one suits my argument above here to cite in support thereof:
Several federal cases are closer on point, and Schotthofer v. Hagstrom Construction Co. seems to set the standard. Schotthofer v. Hagstrom Construction Co., 23 F.R.D. 666 (S.D. Ill. 1958). Although in that case the objection to interrogatories was overruled the court's ruling is quite helpful.
Plaintiff presented a "blanket objection" to all interrogatories on the ground that "they substantially duplicate matters into which defendant inquired upon a previous examination of plaintiff by deposition. [Plaintiff submitted to a deposition and alleges] . . . that the subject matter of these written interrogatories is substantially the same matter which was covered in said deposition examination; and that, therefore, the interrogatories operate to the annoyance of, and unnecessary expense to plaintiff contrary to the provisions of [the federal rules] . . . . " Id. at 667.
Additionally the court stated, "[a]lthough Rule 33 expressly provides that the deposition procedure and procedure upon written interrogatories may be successively employed in a proper case to require an adverse party to disgorge all relevant facts within his knowledge, the device of using the two procedures successively should be carefully scrutinized by the Court. Such use of the two procedures may too easily become an instrument for oppression. When, as in this case, a party has submitted to the taking of his deposition at the request of his opponent and thereafter he is served with written interrogatories by the same opponent, to the extent that the interrogatories make inquiry into the same particulars covered in the prior deposition the use of interrogatories is an abuse of the discovery procedure and is oppressive within the meaning of [the Federal Rules]." Id. at 667-68.
"Furthermore, while written interrogatories may, under the literal language of Rule 33 be co- extensive with interrogatories by deposition under Rule 26, one practical distinction between the two devices should be observed. Written interrogatories are most valuable as a device to compel admissions and the disclosure of major factual matters not concerned with details; the deposition is the device best suited to compel disclosure of detailed information. Voluminous interrogatories requiring written answers involving minute factual details may be unreasonable and impose an undue burden upon the party to whom they are addressed. The weight of the tendency to burden and oppress is enhanced where the interrogatory procedure follows use of the deposition procedure under Rule 26." Id. at 668.
Eventually the court overruled the objection because "
laintiff's objection in this case is not sufficiently particularized to advise the Court to what extent the interrogatories propounded to him are a duplication of matters previously covered in the taking of his deposition. The fact of the deposition proceeding alone does not justify a blanket objection to all written interrogatories. And while I believe that the voluminous interrogatories here propounded are unnecessarily detailed in their content, the peculiar facts of the case do not permit the objection to be sustained on that basis. The complaint states a claim based upon a large number of separate but related demands, and some detail in posing interrogatories is probably inevitable under the circumstances." Id.
Schotthofer was discussed in Richlin v. Sigma Design West, Ltd. where the district court upheld the Magistrate's decision "in not compelling the plaintiffs to answer numerous boilerplate variety interrogatories which are well demonstrated to be substantially duplicative of information already discovered . . . ." Richlin v. Sigma Design West, Ltd., 88 F.R.D. 634, 637, 31 Fed.R.Serv.2d 698 (E.D. Cal. 1980).
In Richlin, plaintiffs were deposed over three days with transcripts exceeding three hundred pages. Subsequently, defendants served interrogatories upon the plaintiffs which were objected to. The defendants filed a motion to compel, and plaintiffs responded and supplemented their opposition with a "deposition interrogatory comparison" which provided a synopsis of the deposition testimony, including page and line numbers, as it related to each interrogatory. Id. at 636.
The court began its analysis by stating that "the various methods of discovery as provided for in the Rules are clearly intended to be cumulative, as opposed to alternative or mutually exclusive." Id. at 637. The court then looked at the various discovery methods and the advantages of each. "As to the respective advantages of interrogatories and depositions and thus their appropriate usages, Wright and Miller advise as follows: The obvious advantage of interrogatories over a deposition is that they are much less expensive. There is not significant expense for the party sending the interrogatories except for the time spent in preparing the questions. In addition, interrogatories are a much simpler device. There are none of the details that must be taken care of in arranging for a deposition, such as obtaining a court reporter and fixing the time and place for the examination. On the other hand, depositions are preferable if a searching interrogation of the other party is desired. At a deposition the examining party has great flexibility and can frame his questions on the basis of answers to previous questions. Moreover, the party being examined does not have the opportunity to study the questions in advance and to consult with his attorney before answering, as he does if interrogatories are used. Attempts at evasion, which might be met by a persistent oral examination, cannot be easily dealt with by interrogatories." Id.
The court discussed how this case differed from Schotthofer. "In Schotthofer, the court refused to sustain the objection of the litigant on the ground that it was not sufficiently particularized to advise the court of the extent to which the interrogatories propounded him were a duplication of those matters previously covered during the course of his deposition. The objections of the plaintiffs at bar, however, (as carefully augmented by their supplemental opposition to the defendants' motion to compel) stand in stark contrast to those depicted in Schotthofer. Herein, the plaintiffs have diligently undertaken to compare each and every interrogatory propounded to them with the relevant portions of the transcripts of their prior deposition testimony. The objections are therefore sufficiently particularized to advise this Court of the extent of the duplication at issue." Id. at 639.
The court then addressed several cases relied upon by the parties. "In attempting to reconcile these seemingly, at first blush, irreconcilable cases, the following becomes clear: while Taylor, [(objection to only five interrogatories)], B. & S. Drilling, Hornung and Anderson [(failure to demonstrate undue burden)], impose an additional requirement to the effect that the objecting party must demonstrate that "hardship or injustice" will result if he/she is forced to duplicate prior answers, the interrogatories at issue in those cases do not appear to be particularly voluminous, nor do they appear to be requiring of minute factual detail. On the other hand, Schotthofer, Kensington, [(the court had to sift through many pages)], Kainz [(interrogatories were not repetitious because as they covered an additional period of time)], and Krantz [(1500 interrogatories requiring minute details)], stand for, at the minimum, the proposition that when voluminous and all-inclusive interrogatories are demonstrated with particularity to be substantially duplicative of material already within the proponent's grasp, the objector's burden of demonstrating that they are annoying, vexatious or oppressive beyond the limits of justice is discharged." Id. at 639-40.
The Richlin court upheld the Magistrate's ruling stating that "the decision appears to be consistent with the case law from other jurisdictions, and does not contravene any controlling precedent within the Ninth Circuit. Moreover, as a general principle it is incumbent upon a court to balance the burden on the interrogated party against the benefit which would inure to the interrogator in making a determination whether a given set of interrogatories are so broad and all inclusive as to be overly burdensome." Id. at 640.
A few other federal cases may offer some support: Spector Freight Systems v. The Home Identity Company, 58 F.R.D. 162 (N.D. Ill. 1973) (granting a protective order when all of the interrogatories seek information which is already to the defendant when defendant had previously taken depositions and audited plaintiff's claims and records); Banana Distributors v. United Fruit Company, 19 F.R.D. 493 (S.D. N.Y. 1956) (defendants may not have to answer interrogatories which are unduly oppressive or may duplicate volumes of work); David J. Frank Landscape Contracting v. La Rosa Landscape, 199 F.R.D. 314 (E.D. Wis. 2001) (no entitlement to protective order when parties have not shown good cause or even provided a reason why they are requesting a protective order).
Please tell me which one suits my argument.