An evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer

Posted Monday, October 14th, 2019 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Litigation Strategy, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys

I find it curious that attorneys routinely treat incomplete or evasive discovery responses as no big deal. From my reading, Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP, could not be more clear, “For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.” Further, Rule 37(a)(2), SCRCP, makes it clear that this subdivision applies to responses to interrogatories, requests for production, and depositions–as the that subsection references Rule 33 (applying to interrogatories), Rule 34 (applying to requests for production), and Rules 30 and 31 (applying to depositions).

Early in my career I often felt hoodwinked when attorneys would justify an incomplete or evasive discovery response, as it was considered good lawyering by many of my older peer. Age and experience have made me less tolerant of such responses. Not merely are they improper. The rule is quite explicit: they are treated as a failure to respond.

Few attorney would accept an outright failure to answer discovery. When opposing litigants offer incomplete or evasive responses to discovery–including answers within their depositions–treat those responses as failures to respond and act accordingly.

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