By Kevin R. Culhane

Model Interrogatories

Excerpted from Model Interrogatories

This chapter presents interrogatories for use when the plaintiff claims that defendant’s conduct wrongfully interfered with plaintiff’s business relations.  The chapter addresses two related but conceptually distinct torts represented by claims that defendant’s conduct (1) wrongfully interfered with plaintiff’s existing contractual relationship, either by inducing a breach of contract or rendering plaintiff’s performance more difficult or burdensome; and (2) wrongfully interfered with the plaintiff’s prospective economic advantage.  This chapter presents interrogatories for use by both plaintiffs and defendants keyed to the essential elements of the parties’ liability and damage claims, followed by interrogatories for use by both parties addressing the available defenses.

Because the contours of these business torts are subject to ongoing judicial development, careful attention must be paid to the statutory and case law of your jurisdiction regarding the elements of the claims and related defenses.  Nevertheless, several generalizations are in order regarding those causes of action that provide redress for interference with business relations.

The first of these is that, in general, the current trend of the case law affords heightened protection to business relationships that have been consummated as existing contracts, and correspondingly less protection when a defendant interferes with a prospective relationship.  As an example, the privilege for fair competition (addressed in sections dealing with applicable defenses below) rarely provides a recognized justification for inducing the breach of an existing contract, but frequently constitutes a complete defense to claims for interference with prospective economic advantage.  Indeed, some courts have held that liability for inducing breach of an existing contract may be predicated upon the fact of inducement itself, whereas conduct giving rise to liability for interference with prospective economic advantage must be wrongful by some measure other than the fact of interference.  (See Della Penna v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, 11 Cal.4th 376 (1995).)

A second necessary observation relates to the fact that, where the necessary elements are proven, interference with contractual relations constitutes a tort.  Since tort damages are recoverable, the courts have attempted to carefully define the range of potential defendants in interference cases to insure that the liability of the contracting parties themselves is limited to damages available for breach of contract.  This has led to a complex body of law that focuses on whether the defendant is in fact a “stranger” to the existing contractual relationship.

Thirdly, it should be noted that in many cases the wrongful conduct establishes other independently actionable torts, such as defamation, fraudulent misrepresentation, etc.  Of course, the plaintiff may elect to frame his complaint upon any theory supported by the facts.  Accordingly, interrogatories contained in other chapters in this book may also be used in business interference cases.

Finally, and perhaps most fundamentally, several cases have recognized that tort liability for interference with business relations protects the secure enjoyment of contractual and economic relations at the expense of a freely competitive economy.  (See, e.g., Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co., 50 Cal.3d 1118, 1137 (1990).)  Accordingly, some courts have been hesitant to expand the reach of interference torts, and the recognized defenses discussed in this chapter are designed to protect legitimate competition and related values.  As will be demonstrated in the sections that follow, these various policy considerations are reflected in the elements of both the claims and defenses applicable to interference with business relations claims.  Accordingly, the interrogatories set forth in this chapter are keyed to explore the parties’ respective contentions regarding these issues.

§2120   Interference with Existing Contractual Relations – Plaintiff  to Defendant

As noted in the introductory materials above, liability may attach for defendant’s wrongful conduct that interferes with an existing contractual relationship.  The interrogatories set forth in the sections that follow are for use in cases in which the plaintiff claims that defendant either (1) induced the other party to breach the existing contract, or (2) prevented plaintiff’s performance of the contract or rendered such performance more expensive or burdensome.  As with other types of tortious conduct examined throughout this book, the interrogatories are organized according to the necessary elements of plaintiff’s proof, including interrogatories for use by both plaintiffs and defendants on these issues.

§2121   Existence of Contract

As noted in the introductory materials, a plaintiff seeking to recover for interference with a contract must demonstrate the existence of the contract itself.  The interrogatories set forth in this section explore the state of the defendant’s knowledge and contentions regarding the existing contractual relationship between plaintiff and the third party.

§2121.1   In General

  1. Please state whether as of [here specify the date of the alleged interference] YOU were aware that [here identify the other party to the contract] entered into a [contract] with the plaintiff.

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state how YOU became aware of the existence of such contract.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY the PERSON who made YOU aware of the existence of the contract.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to the existence of the contract.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth the general nature of the parties’ obligations under the terms of that contract.

  6. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge relating to the fact that YOU were unaware of the existence of such contract.

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each WRITING that relates to the fact that YOU were unaware of the existence of such contract.

  8. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of any WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 7.

§2121.2  Unenforceable Contract

Most jurisdictions will permit liability for interference with a contract to attach even if the contract is unenforceable as between the parties.  In these jurisdictions, the fact that the contract may be voidable under the statute of frauds or for lack of consideration provides no defense to a party who interferes with the relationship between the parties.  (See authorities cited in Zimmerman v. Bank of America National Trust & Sav. Assn., 191 Cal.App.2d 55 (1961).)  The law in Californiais to the contrary, and provides that there can be no interference with contractual relations where the underlying contract is voidable as between the parties. (See Bed, Bath & Beyond of La Jolla, Inc. v. La Jolla Village Square Venture Partners, 52 Cal.App.4th 867, 877 (1997); PMC, Inc. v. Saban Entertainment, Inc., 45 Cal.App.4th 579, 601 (1996).)  The interrogatories set forth in this section explore the defendant’s contentions that the contract between the parties is not enforceable.

  1. Do YOU contend that the contract between plaintiff and [here identify the other party to the contract] was for any reason unenforceable?

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each reason that such contract was unenforceable.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to that contention.

  6. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 5.

§2121.3  Contracts Subject to Conditions Precedent

Occasionally, a defendant sued for tortious interference with a contract will contend that liability should not attach because the contract, although consummated between the parties, is nevertheless subject to a condition precedent.  A common example would be a merger agreement that is subject to approval by the appropriate regulatory authorities.  In such cases defendants occasionally contend that in the absence of such regulatory approval plaintiff has no legally protected interest, but this approach has generally been rejected by the courts.  (See SCEcorp v. Superior Court, 3 Cal.4th 673 (1992); see also Prosser & Keaton, § 129; and Restatement 2d, Torts, § 766, Comment f.)  Accordingly, the interrogatories set forth in this section are for use in those jurisdictions that limit tortious interference with contractual relations to those instances in which the contract is not subject to any unfulfilled condition precedent.

  1. Do YOU contend that the contract between plaintiff and [here identify the other party to the contract] was subject to any condition precedent?

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each such condition precedent.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to that contention.

  6. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 5.

§2121.4  Void Contract

Even those jurisdictions that allow a tort action for interference with a contract that is for some reason voidable or unenforceable as between the parties (such as a contract that does not comply with the statute of frauds or as to which there is no consideration) recognize that no action can be stated if the contract iswholly void.  An illegal contract represents the paradigm example.  (See A-Mark Coin Co. v. General Mills, Inc., 148 Cal.App.3d 312 (1983).)  Accordingly, the interrogatories set forth in this section explore the defendant’s contentions regarding any claim that the subject contract is void for any reason.

  1. Do YOU contend that the contract between plaintiff and [here identify the other party to the contract] was for any reason void?

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each reason that such contract was void.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to that contention.

  6. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 5.

§2121.5  Contract Terminable at Will

Some jurisdictions deny recovery if the contract which is the subject of the claimed interference is a contract that is terminable at the will of one of the parties.  (Ulan v. Lucas, 18 Ariz.App. 129 (1972) (500 P.2d 914); Radiology Professional Corp. v. Trinidad Area Health Assoc., 39 Colo.App.100 (1977) (565 P.2d 952).)  Although this rule has been rejected in California (see Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co., 50 Cal.3d 1118, 1128 (1990)), the interrogatories set forth in this section explore the defendant’s contentions on this point and are for use in  jurisdictions which deny recovery when the contract is terminable at will.

  1. Do YOU contend that the contract between plaintiff and [here identify the other party to the contract] was terminable at will by [here identify the other party to the contract]?

  2.  If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to that contention.

  5. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 4.

§2122   Contract Between Plaintiff and a Third Party

The imposition of tort liability for interference with contractual relations generally requires that the plaintiff demonstrate the existence of a contractual relationship between a plaintiff and a person who, with respect to the defendant, is a legitimate “third party.” This is so because if there is an identity of interest between the defendant and the other party to the contract, the plaintiff’s claim for interference with the contractual relationship would in essence be a suit against the other party to the contract, which could in turn impose tort liability for what is in essence a breach of contract.  Accordingly, case law has arisen in many jurisdictions addressed to the question of whether the defendant is truly a “stranger” to the contractual relationship, or conversely, is simply a representative of the other contracting party.  The interrogatories set forth in the sections that follow address these issues.

§2122.1  Defendant as the Alter Ego of a Party to the Contract

The requirement that a defendant be a stranger to the existing contractual relationship (and conversely that the plaintiff’s contractual relationship be with a legitimate third party) has led to a wide variation in results in the common situation in which a plaintiff sues a corporate officer or director for interfering with a contract entered into by the corporation.  In this setting, some courts have precluded recovery where the evidence indicates that the individual defendant is in fact the alter ego of the corporation, since this means that there is no legitimate third party and that plaintiff is therefore attempting to impose tort liability for breach of contract by the corporation.  (See, e.g., Rao v. Rao, 718 F.2d 219, 225 (7th Cir. 1983); Friedman & Son, Inc. v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 712 P.2d 1128, 1131 (Colo. Ct. App. 1985); Rural Development, Inc. v. Stone, 700 S.W.2d 661, 667 (Tex. Ct. App. 1985), disapproved on other grounds in Sterner v. Marathon Oil Co. 767 S.W.2d 686, 690 (Tex. 1989); Giblin v. Murphy, 97 A.D.2d 668 (1983) (469 N.Y.S.2d 211, 214-215); Straynar v. Jack W. Harris Co., 150 Ga.App. 509 (1979) (258 S.E.2d 248, 249-250).)

In contrast, some courts have held that a corporate owner may nevertheless be liable for interfering with the corporation’s contracts, on the basis that alter ego liability is simply remedial in nature and does not establish a legal identity of interests for all purposes. (See, e.g., Webber v. Inland Empire Inv., Inc., 74 Cal.App.4th 884 (1999); Shapoff v. Scull, 222 Cal.App.3d 1457 (1990), disapproved on other grounds in Applied Equipment Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia Ltd., 7 Cal.4th 503 (1994); Wanland v. Los Gatos Lodge, Inc., 230 Cal.App.3d 1507 (1991).)  Accordingly, the interrogatories set forth in this section explore the defendant’s contentions regarding the claim that liability should be precluded because the defendant is the alter ego of the other party to the contract.

  1. Do YOU contend that as of [here specify date of alleged interference] [defendant] was the alter ego of [here identify corporate party to the contract]?

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth each fact upon which YOU base such contention.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each writing relating to such contention.

  5. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 4.

  6. Do YOU contend that, as of [here specify the date of alleged interference] [defendant] was not the alter ego of [here identify corporate party to contract]?

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please set forth each fact upon which YOU base such contention.

  8. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to that contention.

  9. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please IDENTIFY each writing relating to such contention.

  10. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 9.

§2122.2  Conspiracy Claims Against Other Contracting Party

The rule that liability for interference with contractual relations may only be imposed upon a stranger to the contractual relationship has also given rise to a confusing array of decisions on the question of whether the other contracting party can be held liable for tortious interference on the theory that it conspired with the third party (as to whom liability may ordinarily be established).  Some jurisdictions allow recovery, recognizing that while the tort action for interference with contractual relations cannot be brought against the other contracting party, that party can nevertheless be liable for conspiring to interfere with the contractual relationship.  (Fox v. Deese, 234 Va. 412 (1987) (362 S.E.2d 699, 708); Boyles v. Thompson, 585 S.W.2d 821, 836 (Tex.Civ.App. 1979); National Linen Service Corp. v. Clower, 179 Ga. 136 (1934) (175 S.E. 460, 466); Beverly v. McCullick, 211 Kan. 87 (1973) (505 P.2d 624); Sorenson v. Chevrolet Motor Co., 171 Minn. 260 (1927) (214 N.W. 754, 764-765, 84 A.L.R. 35).)  Other jurisdictions deny recovery, on the theory that although tort liability may be imposed upon a non-contracting party, the policy protecting the expectations of contracting parties preclude any attempt to “end run” the limitations imposed in contract actions through the expedient of a “conspiracy” allegation.  (See, e.g., Applied Equipment Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia Ltd., 7 Cal.4th 503, 513-514 (1994).)  The interrogatories set forth in this section are for use in those jurisdictions that allow liability for tortious interference with a contract against the other party to the contract if that party conspired with the third party to induce the breach.

  1. Please state whether, prior to [here insert date of alleged breach] YOU had any communication with [here identify the third party defendant] regarding [here specify the subject matter of the existing contract].

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth the date of each such communication.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth the content of each such communication.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to such communication.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to such communication.

  6. Please IDENTIFY the CUSTODIAN of eachWRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 5.

§2123   Defendant’s Knowledge of Existing Contract

As set forth in the introductory materials, the plaintiff must also demonstrate that the defendant was aware of the existing contract between the plaintiff and the third party at the time that the defendant engaged in the acts of interference.  The interrogatories set forth in this section explore the state of defendant’s knowledge on this issue.

  1. Please state whether, as of [here specify date of alleged interference], YOU were aware that [here identify the other party to the contract] had entered into a contractual relationship with plaintiff.

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state when YOU became aware of the existence of such contract.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please state how YOU became aware of the existence of such contract.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY the PERSON who made YOU aware of the existence of the contract.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each writing relating to the existence of the contract.

  6. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth your understanding of the parties’ obligations under the terms of that contract.

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to your contention that YOU were unaware of the existence of such contract.

  8. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to the fact thatYOU were unaware of the existence of such contract.

  9. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 8.

§2124   Acts or Conduct Interfering with Contractual Relations

As set forth in the introductory materials, the plaintiff must also prove that the defendant either (1) induced the other contracting party to breach the contract, or (2) engaged in conduct that rendered the plaintiff’s performance more difficult or burdensome.  The interrogatories set forth in the sections that follow explore these issues.

§2124.1  Acts or Conduct Inducing Breach

  1. Please state whether on or about [here specify date of alleged interference] YOU [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of the fact that YOU did not [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to your contention that YOU did not [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  4. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of any WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 3.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth each reason that YOU [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  6. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each person who has knowledge of any fact relating to [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to [here describe conduct inducing breach].

  8. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 7.

§2124.2  Conduct Rendering Plaintiff’s Performance More Difficult

As set forth above, liability may attach not only when a defendant induces the other contracting party to breach the contract, but also when a defendant’s conduct renders a plaintiff’s performance more difficult.  The interrogatories set forth in this section address the defendant’s contentions regarding this basis of liability.

  1. Please state whether on or about [here specify date of alleged interference] YOU [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of the fact that YOU did not [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was no, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to your contention that YOU did not [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  4. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 3.

  5. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth each reason that YOU [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  6. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each person who has knowledge of any fact relating to [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to [here describe conduct rendering performance more burdensome].

  8. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 7.

§2125   Causation

In order to prevail in a claim for tortious interference with contractual relations, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct was the legal cause of the damage, i.e., caused the other party to the contract to breach it, or rendered plaintiff’s performance more difficult.  Conversely, a defendant will typically claim that the other contracting party breached the contract for reasons wholly independent of the interference, or that plaintiff’s performance was rendered more difficult for reasons extraneous to defendant’s conduct.  The interrogatories set forth in this section are for use where causation is disputed in tortious interference cases.

  1. Do YOU contend that [here identify other party to the contract] did not breach the [subject] contract?

  2. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please set forth each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  3. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to such contention.

  4. If your answer to interrogatory number 1 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to such contention.

  5. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each WRITING identified in your answer to interrogatory number 4.

  6. Do YOU contend that [here specify acts of interference] did not cause [here identify the other party to the contract] to breach said contract?

  7. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please set forth each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  8. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to such contention.

  9. If your answer to interrogatory number 6 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to such contention.

  10. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each writing identified in your answer to interrogatory number 9.

  11. Do YOU contend that [here specify acts of interference] did not render plaintiff’s performance of the contract more difficult?

  12. If your answer to interrogatory number 11 was yes, please set forth each fact upon which YOU base that contention.

  13. If your answer to interrogatory number 11 was yes, please IDENTIFY each PERSON who has knowledge of any fact relating to such contention.

  14. If your answer to interrogatory number 11 was yes, please IDENTIFY each WRITING relating to such contention.

  15. Please IDENTIFY the present CUSTODIAN of each writing identified in your answer to interrogatory number 14.

§2126   Damages

As in other areas of tort liability, the prevailing plaintiff must demonstrate that the tortious conduct caused damage.  Moreover, if the conduct can be characterized as oppressive, fraudulent or malicious, the plaintiff may be entitled to punitive damages.  The interrogatories set forth in the sections that follow explore these damages issues from the plaintiff’s perspective.

§2126.1  Past Economic Losses

A plaintiff who successfully demonstrates tortious interference with contractual relations is entitled to compensatory damages, including economic losses incurred up to and through the date of the trial.  The interrogatories set forth in this section address the defendant’s contentions regarding past economic losses.

  1. Do YOU deny that but for [here specify challenged conduct] plaintiff would have earned the sum of $_____ between the dates of __________ and ________?*

§2126.2  Future Economic Losses

A plaintiff who demonstrates tortious interference with contractual relations is also entitled to recover future lost profits, subject to the normal requirement that such losses be reasonably certain to occur.  The interrogatory set forth in this section explores the defendant’s contentions regarding a future lost profits claim.

  1. Do YOU deny that but for [here specify challenged conduct] the plaintiff would have received the sum of $______ representing lost profits for the period between __________ and ___________.*

§2126.3  Loss of Goodwill

The plaintiff who successfully establishes tortious interference with contractual relations may also claim damages for loss of business goodwill, provided only that such damages may not duplicate an award for future lost profits. (See Buxbom v. Smith, 23 Cal.2d 535 (1944).) The interrogatories set forth in this section explore the defendant’s contentions regarding lost good will claims.

  1. Do YOU deny that as a result of [here specify challenged conduct] the plaintiff  has sustained a loss of goodwill to [her or her] business?*

§2126.4  Emotional Distress Damages

The right to recover emotional distress damages incident to financial loss is the subject of ongoing legal debate (see, e.g., Merenda v. Superior Court, 3 Cal.App.4th 1 (1992)). A plaintiff seeking to recover such damages may correctly point out that in most cases tortious interference with contractual relations is an intentional tort, and that courts have allowed such damages in intentional tort cases. (See generally Burgess v. Superior Court, 2 Cal.4th 1064 (1992).)  The interrogatories set forth in this section explore defendant’s contentions regarding emotional distress damages.

  1. Do YOU contend that plaintiff did not suffer emotional distress as a result of [here specify challenged conduct]?*

§2126.5  Punitive Damages

If a defendant’s conduct is accompanied by the requisite oppression, fraud or malice, (or their equivalents under varying state formulations) a plaintiff may also seek an award of punitive damages.  Interrogatories for use in such cases, as well as a sample motion permitting pretrial discovery of a defendant’s financial condition, are set forth in section 323, et seq.


Kevin R. Culhane is a partner with a law firm of Hansen, Boyd, Culhane & Watson in Sacramento, California. His practice consists primarily of professional liability and appellate law. He has been faculty member at Hastings Centerfor Trial and Appellate Advocacy in San Francisco, and frequently lectures on discovery and trial matters for California’s Continuing Education of the Bar. Following a one-year term as Vice-President of the State Bar of California, Mr. Culhane was appointed to two successive terms as a member of the Judicial Council of California.  Mr. Culhane is the author of Model Interrogatories, from which this article is excerpted.