Interrogatories 4 sample interrogatories from plaintiff and defendants answers in products liability case

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Answers to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories

Swanson, Martin & Bell, Karen M. Zajicek, 2100 Manchester Road, C-1420, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, (630) 653-2266, Attorney No. 29558.

NOW COMES defendant, NISSAN MOTOR CORPORATION IN U.S.A., n/k/a NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC., by and through its attorneys, SWANSON, MARTIN & BELL, and in Answer to plaintiffs' Interrogatories pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213 states as follows:

1. Please state the name and job title of the individual(s) providing the responses and signing the verification to these Interrogatories, including name, business and home address, employment and job title of said individual(s).

Answer: These are responses of Nissan North America, which have been prepared by and under the supervision of Nissan North America's attorneys, including counsel of record in this lawsuit and with the assistance of various Nissan North America employees. The answers are verified on Nissan North America's behalf by a duly authorized agent as required under the applicable rules.

2. Please identify by article number, date of issuance, description, and components affected, those technical service bulletins, recall notices, special service messages, or other service/diagnostic bulletins, issued by defendant for the same make and model vehicle as the subject vehicle that pertain to the alleged defects in the subject vehicle.

Answer: Investigation continues.

3. List the names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, and job titles of each agent or employee of defendant who inspected the subject vehicle, performed repairs on the subject vehicle, or was present when these inspections and/or repairs took place. For each individual, please provide a brief factual summary of the nature and extent of said individuals inspection/findings.

Answer: Plaintiff's vehicle was inspected and/or serviced at Fergus Nissan and Star Nissan; this defendant is unaware of the names of the individuals at those entities who inspected and/or serviced the plaintiff's vehicle.

4. Did defendant issue a written warranty with the subject vehicle. If the answer to said interrogatory is “yes” please describe the written warranty or warranties issued with the vehicle.

Answer: Yes; defendant issued a limited written warranty at the time of initial distribution of the subject vehicle. The terms of the limited written warranty, including enumerated limitations and exclusions thereto, speak for themselves. Pursuant to paragraph 6 of plaintiff's complaint, plaintiff has admitted that he received at the time of purchase the terms of the limited written warranty.

5. When were you first notified of any alleged defects or complaints concerning the subject vehicle, and by whom. If such notice was made by phone calls from plaintiff, or anyone on plaintiff's behalf, please list each phone call by date, name of individual from defendant that engaged in such phone conversation, and the substance of such conversation.

Answer: Nissan received a letter from plaintiff's attorney on or about December 27, 2001, regarding alleged defects with engine and brakes.

6. State whether plaintiff, or anyone on plaintiffs behalf, has ever notified defendant that plaintiff no longer wanted the subject vehicle. If so, state when, whether oral or written notice was given, and state the name, address and job title of each person receiving said statement.

Answer: Nissan received a letter from plaintiff's attorney on or about December 27, 2001, requesting repurchase of the vehicle. Defendant has contemporaneously produced in response to plaintiff's request for production of documents its consumer assistance request file which contains references to this correspondence.

7. Please identify the equipment included and specifications of the subject vehicle including but not limited to its exact model name, engine size, transmission type, two wheel drive versus four wheel drive, etc.

Answer: The vehicle is a 2000 Nissan Maxima SE. This and all other information requested in Interrogatory No. 7 is in plaintiff's possession as they have possession of the subject vehicle and the information sought is also contained in the vehicle history documents attached in response to plaintiff's request to produce.

8. Please identify the name, address, occupation, substance of expected testimony and summary of the grounds for each and every opinion, for any opinion/expert witness as defined by the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Please identify only those individuals that you anticipate calling as opinion/expert witnesses at trial and/or arbitration.

Answer: Defendant intends to utilize David Schend, Nissan Dealer Technical Specialist as its expert/opinion witness. Mr. Schend inspected plaintiff's vehicle on April 22, 2002. Mr. Schend's inspection report will be produced once it is completed.

9. Please provide a brief chronological resume of each opinion/expert witness identified in the preceding paragraph, including any and all schools attended, certifications, honors achieved, memberships in professional organizations, other current employment(s), names and addresses of employers, and years of employment.

Answer: Plaintiff's counsel has been previously provided with Mr. Schend's background information and resume; defendant state that Mr. Schend's background information and resume has not changed since the time of last tender to plaintiff's counsel. However, upon further request from plaintiff, defendant will again provide plaintiff's counsel with Mr. Schend's background information and resume.

10. Please identify all factual information relied upon by the opinion/expert witness including, but not limited to, drawings, correspondence, memoranda, reports, tests, plans specifications, repair invoices, technical service bulletins, recalls, silent warranties and/or other documents whatsoever.

Answer: Defendant objects to Interrogatory No. 10 on the grounds that it is unduly vague in that it fails to explain or define what a “silent warranty” is and seeks, in part, information protected by the work-product and/or attorney-client privilege. Without waiving said objection and in the spirit of discovery, see documents attached in response to plaintiff's request to produce.

11. Please identify each and every fact/occurrence witness that defendant will call at the trial and/or arbitration of this case, stating each individual's full name, address, current employment, relationship to defendant, substance of expected testimony and summary of testimony.

Answer: In addition to Mr. Schend, defendant intends on calling technicians and service advisors identified on the third-party dealership invoices and repair orders from Fergus Nissan and Star Nissan. In addition, defendant retains the right to call as witnesses any witness disclosed by plaintiff.

12. Did plaintiff abuse, neglect, alter, modify, or misuse the subject vehicle. If your answer to said interrogatory is “yes“ please state precisely and in detail each and every factual element upon which defendant asserts that plaintiff abused, neglected, altered, modified,or misused the subject vehicle.

Answer: Defendant objects to interrogatory number 12 on the grounds that it seeks information within the purview of the plaintiffs; discovery has not yet been completed and defendant has not deposed the plaintiff. Therefore, at this juncture, defendant is unable to answer interrogatory number 12 based upon the information in its possession.

13. Please indicate how many cumulative days defendant's records indicated that the vehicle was out of service by reason of any defect or condition complained of by plaintiff.

Answer: Defendant's records do not indicate the number of cumulative days plaintiffs' vehicle was “out of service” by reason of a condition complained of by plaintiffs; this information may be obtained from reviewing the repair invoices from the third-party dealerships, Star Nissan and Fergus Nissan.

14. List all warranty claims submitted by defendant's authorized dealers to defendant in which said dealers requested reimbursement for warranty repairs performed on the subject vehicle. For all such claims, please list the dollar amount that defendant reimbursed each authorized dealer.

Answer: See documents attached to defendant's response to plaintiffs' Request to Produce.

13. Does defendant have a good will repair policy. If the answer to this interrogatory is “yes,” please describe the policy and identify any repairs that defendant paid for under its “good will” program. Please also list the reason said repair was paid under a “good will” determination.

Answer: Defendant objects to Interrogatory number 15 on the grounds that the term “good will” is unduly vague. However, in the spirit of discovery, without waiving said objection, defendant states as follows: this defendant has no stated “good will” policy; repairs or costs covered as a customer accommodation are done so by defendant on a case-by-case basis. To this defendant's knowledge no “good will” repairs were made to the plaintiffs' vehicle.

16. Were any repairs performed on the subject vehicle for which plaintiff was not charged and the repairs were not covered by the applicable warranties for the subject vehicle. Please list all such repairs.

Answer: Unknown to this defendant.

17. According to defendant's records, were any repairs performed on the subject vehicle since the date of its manufacture to the date of purchase by plaintiff. Please list all such repairs.

Answer: None known.

18. Please provide the names, addresses and titles of all individuals employed by defendant who have reviewed plaintiff's claims regarding the subject vehicle.

Answer: Defendant objects to Interrogatory No. 18 on the grounds that it, in part, calls for information privileged by the attorney-client relationship. To the extent Interrogatory 18 does not seek information protected by the privilege, the defendant states as follows: David Schend, Nissan Dealer Technical Specialist.

19. Define the word “defect” as used in defendant's written warranty.

Answer: Defendant objects to Interrogatory number 19 as it is unduly vague and incomplete; Interrogatory number 19 does not specify where, and in what context, the word “defect” referred to is utilized. Moreover, the specific term “defect” does not appear in defendant's written warranty materials. However, in the spirit of discovery, without waiving said objection, defendant states as follows: Pursuant to Black's Law Dictionary (5th Edition) the term “defect” is defined as follows: “The want or absence of some legal requisite; deficiency; imperfection; insufficiency. [citation omitted.] The want or absence of something necessary for completeness of perfections; a lack or absence of something essential to completeness; a deficiency in something essential to the proper use for the purpose for which a thing is to be used.”

20. Has defendant failed or refused to reimburse its authorized dealers for any warranty repairs and/or diagnostic procedures on this automobile. If the answer is “yes,” state the reason the manufacturer did not make payment.

Answer: No.

21. Did any individuals from defendant's authorized dealers contact defendant in an effort to seek assistance with the diagnosis or repair of the subject vehicle. If such contact was made, please identify the name, address and position of all individuals involved, the date of said contact and the substance of said contact.

Answer: One September 24, 2001, Wayne Gafke of Fergus Nissan contacted Nissan's techline regarding an engine stall of the vehicle. On October 29, 2001, Gus Drossoulis of Fergus Nissan contacted Nissan's techline regarding an engine stall of the vehicle.

22. Does defendant provide training programs, manuals, videotapes, or other materials to its authorized service dealerships regarding the “Lemon Law” or other breach of warranty laws. If so, please describe the nature and extent of such training.

Answer: No.

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