Proposed Revisions to Workers' Compensation Rules
of the North Carolina Industrial Commission

 

Note: The following constitutes the proposed changes in this Rule. Added language appears in bold italic script, and proposed deletions are indicated by strikeout. The changes will not go into effect until further notice by the Industrial Commission.


Article VI. Contested Cases

Rule 605

Discovery

In addition to depositions and production of books and records provided for in N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-80, parties may obtain discovery by the use of interrogatories as follows:

(a) Any party may serve upon any other parties written interrogatories, up to thirty (30) 20 in number, including subparts thereof, to be answered by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available from the party interrogated.

Interrogatories may, without leave of the Industrial Commission, be served upon any party after the filing of a Form 18, Form 18B, or Form 33, or after approval of Form 21.

Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. The answers are to be signed by the person making them and the objections signed by the party making them. The party on whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve a copy of the answers, and objections, if any, within thirty 30 days after service of the interrogatories. The parties may stipulate to an extension of time to respond to the interrogatories. A motion to extend the time to respond shall represent that an attempt to reach agreement with the opposing party to informally extend the time for response has been unsuccessful and the opposing parties’ position or that there has been a reasonable attempt to contact the opposing party to ascertain its position.

If there is an objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory, the party submitting the interrogatories may move the Industrial Commission for an order compelling answer. If the Industrial Commission orders answer to an interrogatory within a time certain and no answer is made or the objection is still lodged, the Industrial Commission may issue an order with appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to the sanctions specified in Rule 37 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b) Interrogatories may relate to any matters which are not privileged which are relevant to the subject matter in the pending action an issue presently in dispute or which the requesting party reasonable believes may later be disputed. It is not grounds for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the hearing if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, nor is it grounds for objection that the examining party has knowledge of the information as to which discovery is sought. Signature of a party or attorney serving interrogatories constitutes a certificate by such person that he or she has personally read each of the interrogatories, that no such interrogatory will oppress a party or cause any unnecessary expense or delay, that the information requested is not known or equally available to the requesting party and that the interrogatory relates to an issue presently in dispute or which the requesting party reasonably believes may later be in dispute. A party may serve an interrogatory, however, to obtain verification of facts relating to an issue presently in dispute. Answers to interrogatories may be used to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence.

(c) Additional methods of discovery as provided by the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure may be used only upon motion and approval by the Industrial Commission or by agreement of the parties.

(d) Notices of depositions, discovery requests and responses pertinent to a pending motion, responses to discovery following a motion or order to compel, and post-hearing discovery requests and responses shall be filed with the Commission, as well as served on the opposing party. Otherwise, discovery requests and responses, including interrogatories and requests for production of documents, shall not be filed with the Commission.

(e) Sanctions may be imposed under this Rule for failure to comply with a Commission order compelling discovery. A motion by a party or its attorney to compel discovery under this Rule and Rule 607 shall represent that informal means of resolving the discovery dispute have been attempted in good faith and state briefly the opposing parties’ position or that there has been a reasonable attempt to contact the opposing party and ascertain its position.

(Amended effective January 1, 1992.)


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