Interrogatories to corporate landowner in a slip and fall injury lawsuit

When a slip and fall lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff (the party who filed the lawsuit) and the defendant (the person or business that is sued) engage in “discovery.” Discovery is the legal process by which the parties try to learn as much as possible about each other and the claims and defenses related to the lawsuit. One method of discovery is called “interrogatories.” Interrogatories are written questions sent by one party to the other; the responding party must answer the questions truthfully, in writing, within a set period of time (generally within 30 days of service).

Below is a sample set of interrogatories that a plaintiff might send to a corporate landowner in a slip and fall case.

PLAINTIFF’S FIRST INTERROGATORIES DIRECTED TO DEFENDANT

The Plaintiff by and through her attorneys, and pursuant to [the rules governing discovery], propounds the following interrogatories to be answered by Defendant according to rule.

1. Please identify yourself, giving your full name, residence, business address, and occupation, and the office you hold with the Defendant. Each person providing responses to these interrogatories should provide this information. Further, each such person should indicate which of the interrogatory responses he or she is responsible for.

2. Please state when the alleged slip and fall occurrence happened, giving the date, hour, and minute as nearly as possible.

3. Was the defendant in control of the premises at the time and place of the alleged slip and fall occurrence? If not, state who was in control, providing the name, address and telephone number of the person and/or entity so in control.

4. Was the defendant in exclusive possession of the premises at the time and place of the alleged slip and fall occurrence? If not, state who was in exclusive possession, providing the name, address and telephone number of the person and/or entity so in possession.

5. Was the defendant the owner of the premises at the time and place of the alleged occurrence? If not, state who the owner was, providing the name, address and telephone number of the owner.

6. Please describe fully how the alleged slip and fall occurrence happened, stating all events relating to such occurrence in the order they happened. If you do not have personal knowledge, provide this information to the best of your knowledge, stating how you came into this information.

7. Please identify and describe the appearance of each person who was in the vicinity at the time of the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

8. Did you or any agent or employee of the defendant witness any part or all of the alleged slip and fall occurrence?

9. If the answer to the preceding interrogatory is in the affirmative, please state:
a. the name and address of each person who witnessed any part of the alleged occurrence;
b. everything that was seen or noticed by each such person;
c. where in relation to the point of the alleged occurrence each such person was at the time he or she witnessed such occurrence.

10. Please describe each action or activity of the plaintiff from the time you or any agent or employee of the defendant first observed the plaintiff up to the time of the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

11. Please describe each action or activity of the plaintiff as observed by you and all agents and employees of the defendant at the time of and during the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

12. Please describe what you and all agents and employees of the defendant observed the plaintiff do immediately after the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

13. Please describe everything that the plaintiff did after the alleged slip and fall occurrence until the plaintiff left the premises.

14. Please describe all injuries, giving the size, appearance, and position of any marks, cuts, bruises, or blood, if any, that you and all agents and employees of the defendant saw upon the plaintiff immediately after the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

15. Please describe all conversations, sounds, utterances, speech, noises, acts, or movements made by the plaintiff immediately after the alleged slip and fall occurrence, which were heard or seen by you and all agents and employee of the defendant.

16. Please describe as accurately as possible the location of the alleged slip and fall occurrence within the premises.

17. Please describe the condition of the premises at the time of the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

18. If the alleged slip and fall occurrence was due to or caused in any way by any property or equipment belonging to the defendant, please:
a. identify such property or equipment, describe the size, shape, color, and appearance of such property or equipment;
b. describe the size, shape, color, and appearance of such property or equipment;
c. state whether such property or equipment was normally maintained in the area where the occurrence took place;
d. state how long prior to the alleged occurrence any such property or equipment had been present on the premises at the location of the occurrence.

19. Please give a complete description of all property and equipment on the premises in the immediate vicinity of the slip and fall occurrence.

20. With respect to the property or equipment involved in the alleged occurrence, please:
a. identify such property or equipment fully, including in the answer a description of the purpose for which it was used;
b. give a complete description of such property or equipment, including size, shape, color, brand name, if any, and all other physical characteristics;
c. give a complete account of where, when, and by whom such property or equipment was constructed or manufactured;
d. describe the precise location of the alleged occurrence in relation to such property or equipment, including in the answer distances in feet and inches;
e. state the date and time when such property or equipment was first installed and placed on the premises and the place where it was when the alleged occurrence took place;
f. state whether the property or equipment involved in the alleged occurrence was ever repaired, either prior to or subsequent to that occurrence;
g. state whether the property or equipment involved was in proper condition at the time of the alleged incident, with all parts being in the proper place and in proper condition;
h. give the name and address of each person who was involved in any way with the installation and/or placement of such property or equipment, and state what each such person contributed to its installation and/or placement.

21. With regard to the property or equipment involved in the alleged slip and fall occurrence, please state:
a. its location immediately after the occurrence;
b. its location one week after the occurrence;
c. its location one month after the occurrence;
d. its location since the filing of this lawsuit;
e. what has happened to it since the occurrence; if sold, state to whom it was sold, giving name, address, and date of sale.

22. If the property or equipment involved in the alleged slip and fall occurrence was removed from the premises after such occurrence, please:
a. give the date and time of such removal;
b. give the name and address of each person who was involved in any way with such removal, including in the answer what each such person contributed to such removal;
c. state the reasons for such removal;
d. state where such property or equipment is now located.

23. Was the alleged occurrence due to or in any way caused or related to property or equipment on the premises?

24. If the answer to the preceding interrogatory is in the affirmative, please identify such property and equipment and state how it caused, contributed to, or was related to the alleged occurrence.

25. Please state what the defendant contends to have been the cause of the slip and fall occurrence other than any property or equipment.

26. Prior to the alleged slip and fall occurrence, did you or any agent or employee of the defendant ever see any protruding parts on the equipment which allegedly caused plaintiff to slip and fall? If so, please state:
a. when, giving the date and time;
b. a complete description of the alleged defect or defective condition, giving exact dimensions and all other physical characteristics;
c. whether you know of any other incidents in which a person was caused to stumble, trip, or fall as a result of walking into protruding parts of equipment similar to the equipment at issue in this case.

27. Subsequent to the alleged slip and fall occurrence, did you, or any agent or employee of the defendant, ever see any protruding parts on the equipment which allegedly caused plaintiff to slip and fall? If so, please state:
a. when, giving the date and time;
b. a complete description of the alleged defect or defective condition, giving exact dimensions and all other physical characteristics;
c. whether you know of any other incidents in which a person was caused to stumble, trip, or fall as a result of walking into protruding parts of equipment similar to the equipment at issue in this case.

28. How many times prior to the alleged slip and fall occurrence did you or any agent or employee of the defendant observe the protruding part?

29. On how many occasions prior to the alleged occurrence, if at all, was the defendant advised through its agents or employees that anyone had experienced an occurrence similar to the alleged slip and fall occurrence on the defendant’s premises? For each such occurrence, state the name and address of the person(s) complaining of injury, the date of the occurrence, and the place (including the address) of the occurrence.

30. At some time prior to the alleged occurrence, did the defendant or any agent or employee of the defendant anticipate the occurrence of an incident similar to that of the alleged slip and fall occurrence? If so, please state:
a. the identity, including name and address, of the individual who anticipated such occurrence;
b. how such occurrence was anticipated;
c. how such anticipation was made known to the defendant;
d. what steps the defendant took to protect against such anticipated incidents.

31. For each individual who experienced occurrences similar to the alleged slip and fall occurrence, please give the following information:
a. complete identification, including name, address, telephone number and place of employment;
b. the date of the occurrence;
c. the exact location of the occurrence;
d. the reason given to any agent or employee of the defendant by the person who experienced the occurrence as to the cause of his or her occurrence.

32. Did you or any agent or employee of the defendant examine or inspect the place or area where the plaintiff alleges that the occurrence took place within a 24-hour period prior to the alleged slip and fall occurrence?

33. If the answer to the preceding interrogatory is in the affirmative, please give the following information with regard to the last examination or inspection of the area where the alleged occurrence took place prior to such occurrence:
a. the date and time of day;
b. the identification, including here name and address, of each person involved in such examination or inspection;
c. what such examination or inspection consisted of;
d. what such examination or inspection revealed or showed;
e. each act or activity done or undertaken by you or any agent or employee of the defendant in response to any condition or circumstance disclosed by such examination or inspection.

34. State whether you or any agent or employee of the defendant examined or inspected the place where plaintiff alleges that the occurrence took place at any time after the alleged slip and fall occurrence? If so, please give the following information with regard to the first examination or inspection of such place or area after such occurrence:
a. the date and time of day;
b. the identification, including the name and address, of each person involved in such examination or inspection;
c. what such inspection or examination consisted of;
d. what such examination or inspection revealed or disclosed.

35. Please state everything you or any agent or employee of the defendant did to avoid the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

36. Were any photographs, movies, and/or videotapes taken of the plaintiff and/or of the slip and fall occurrence before, during, or after the alleged occurrence? If so, state the date or dates on which such photographs, movies, and/or videotapes were taken, the subject thereof, who now has custody of them, and the name, address, occupation, and employer of the person taking them.

37. Please give the substance of all communications or statements made by or conversations between the plaintiff and you or any agent or employee of the defendant concerning the alleged slip and fall occurrence.

38. Does the defendant contend that the plaintiff by any act or omission caused or contributed to cause the alleged slip and fall occurrence? If so, please describe each such act or omission of the plaintiff.

39. State the name(s), residential address(es) and business address(es) of the persons in charge of safety at the store located at on .

40. Have you or anyone acting on your behalf had any conversations with any person about the manner in which the slip and fall occurrence complained of occurred, or have you overheard any statements made by any person at any time with regard to the injuries complained of by plaintiff or the manner in which the occurrence complained of occurred? If the answer to this interrogatory is in the affirmative, state the following:
a. the date or dates of such conversations and/or statements;
b. the place of such conversations and/or statements;
c. all persons present for the conversations and/or statements;
d. the matters and things stated by the person in the conversations and/or statements;
e. whether the conversation was oral, written and/or recorded;
f. who has possession of the statement if written and/or recorded.

41. Do you know of any statements made by any person relating to the slip and fall occurrence complained of by the plaintiff? If so, give the name and address of each such witness and the date of the statement, and state whether such statement was written and/or oral.

42. Provide the name, address and telephone number of each witness who will testify at trial and;
a. For each “Lay Witness” provide the subjects on which each witness will testify.
b. For each “Independent Expert Witness” provide:
i. the subjects on which each witness will testify; and
ii. the opinions you expect to elicit from each witness.
c. For each “Controlled Expert Witness” provide:
i. the subjects on which each witness will testify;
ii. the conclusions and opinions of the witness and the bases therefore;
iii. the qualifications of the witness; and
iv. any reports prepared by the witness about the case.

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