United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
DR. DEBRA L. WALKER, et al. PLAINTIFFS
TARGET CORPORATION DEFENDANT
Starrett UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 20, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to Strike 
Plaintiff Debra Walker's Supplemental Answers to its
First Set of Interrogatories [77-1]. Plaintiff first served the
supplemental interrogatory responses on December 20, 2016,
but she did not serve a signed copy until March 15, 2017 -
the discovery deadline. Defendant argues that it had no duty
to act on an unsigned discovery response, and that the Court
must strike the supplemental interrogatory answers pursuant
to Rule 26(g)(2), which provides that “parties have no
duty to act on an unsigned disclosure, response, or objection
until it is signed, and the court must strike it unless a
signature is promptly supplied after the omission is called
to the attorney's or party's attention.”
Plaintiff did not sign her supplemental interrogatory
responses, her attorney did. Rule 26(g) only requires that
“at least one attorney of record” sign discovery
responses, unless the responding party is unrepresented.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(1). Rule 33 requires that “[t]he
person who makes the [interrogatory] answers must sign them .
. ., ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(5), but it does not impose a
mandatory sanction of striking the unsigned response.
Contrast Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g)(2), with
Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(5). Rather, violations of Rule 33 are
subject to sanctions under Rule 37. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 33 advisory committee's note; Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a);
cf. Geiserman v. MacDonald, 893 F.2d 787, 793 (5th
Cir. 1990). Defendant never filed a motion to compel pursuant
to Rule 37(a), and it has not argued that sanctions are
appropriate under Rule 37(c).
Plaintiff eventually served signed responses on March 15,
2017, and Defendant has not represented that the signed
responses differed materially from the unsigned ones.
Therefore, while Plaintiff may have been lackadaisical in her
obligation to provide signed interrogatory responses,
Defendant has not articulated any prejudice that was created
by the delay. Defendant had the same information available to
it for three months before it received the signed responses.
Although Rule 26(g)(2) provides that the Court
“must” strike unsigned discovery responses, the
Fifth Circuit has held that a district court did not abuse
its discretion in denying a motion to strike a technically
deficient discovery response that created no prejudice to the
opposing party. See Waltner v. Aurora Loan Servs.,
LLC, 551 F. App'x 741, 747 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing
Coco v. United States, 569 F.2d 367, 372 (5th Cir.
the Local Rules provide: “A party must file a discovery
motion sufficiently in advance of the discovery deadline to
allow response to the motion, ruling by the court and time to
effectuate the court's order before the discovery
deadline.” L.U.Civ.R. 7(b)(2)(C). Defendant received
the unsigned interrogatory responses in December 2016. Rather
than file a motion to compel signed responses, it elected to
wait until April 20, 2017 - after discovery had already
closed - to seek relief. This Court's local rules do not
allow litigants to sit on their rights until it is too late
for the Court to craft a remedy other than exclusion - as the
Court also reminded Plaintiffs in its Order  of June 7,
summary, Plaintiff did not violate Rule 26(g) insofar as that
rule only requires that her attorney sign the discovery
responses. To whatever extent Plaintiff violated Rule 33 by
delaying her signature of the interrogatory responses,
Defendant has not articulated any prejudice created by the
delay. In fact, Defendant was timely provided the substantive
information it sought, and Plaintiff eventually signed the
responses. The Court denies Defendant's Motion to Strike
 Plaintiff's Supplemental Answers to its First Set of
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
Docket No. 77-1 is a redacted copy of
Plaintiffs' supplemental interrogatory responses. Docket
No. 105-1 includes an unredacted copy.
 It is unlikely the Court would impose
sanctions under Rule 37 because, as explained below,
Plaintiff's delay in providing signed responses did not
See also Fos v. Walmart Stores
East, LP, No. 3:12-CV-735-LG-JMR, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
191329, at *4 n. 1 (S.D.Miss. Nov. 14, 2013)
(“Unless a signature has been supplied by
Plaintiffs, the Supplemental Answers to Interrogatories
will be stricken pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(2).”);
Holmes v. All Am. Check Cashing, Inc., No.
2:11-CV-7-NBB-SAA, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18917, at *2 (N.D.
Miss. Feb. 10, 2016) (where defendant failed to sign
interrogatory responses, court gave it seven days to do so,
rather than imposing sanctions); Kempton v. Mar.
Sys., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84691, at *11-*12 (E.D. La.
June 17, 2013) (where defendant had not signed responses, the
court gave it seven days to provide signed responses, rather
than strike them); cf. Atl. Inv. Mgmt., LLC v. ...