Discovery to Identify Nonparties

With several important limitations, T.C.A. ㋔ 20-1-119 permits a plaintiff to add parties defendant to a case even if the statute of limitations has expired. The triggering event for adding nonparties as parties is typically language in the defendant’s answer or amended answer.

Rather than waiting for the defendants to get around to blaming others, try to force the issue by using the following interrogatory:

Do you contend that any person or entity other than yourself caused or contributed to cause plaintiff’s [insert appropriate word] as alleged in the complaint? If so, please state (a) the identify of each such person; (b) what you contend he or she did (or did not do) to cause or contribute to cause the injuries; and (c) identify any documents or things that support your contention.

Be sure to define the word “identify.”

Insist upon a timely response and seasonable supplementation of this interrogatory. The failure to get a timely response may help you defeat an umtimely motion to amend the answer to assert the fault of a co-defendant or nonparty.