I am involved in a lawsuit and had to answer interrogatories. Why did I have to go to the trouble of signing my name to my answers in the presence of a notary public?
As you know, Interrogatories are written questions sent from one party in a lawsuit to an opposing party about issues related to the lawsuit. For example, in a lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle collision, each driver may send interrogatories to the other ask for driving histories, including whether the opposing driver has ever received a driving citation. The party responding to interrogatories must sign a statement swearing or affirming that the responses to the interrogatories are true.
The reason the signature under oath is required is because answers to interrogatories are deemed to be the equivalent of testimony under oath at trial. As they say, what you say (or don’t say) in response to the questions asked can be used against you in a court of law. The signature under oath reinforces the truth-telling requirement, and the signature in the presence of a notary public makes it virtually impossible for someone to say that the signature on the answers is not genuine.
It is very important that interrogatories be answered truthfully. I have seen cases severely damaged when false information was given in answers to interrogatories. Conversely, I have seen cases for my clients vastly improve when a defendant gave false answers to interrogatories that we filed.