Writ relief in the Court of Appeal is given sparingly. As to discovery orders, such relief is at least theoretically available where the Court is presented with “a question of first impression which is of general importance to the trial courts and to the profession, and in conjunction with which general guidelines can be laid down for future cases.” The Court of Appeal recently found these circumstances present when a writ application posed the following question: “[D]oes the 45-day time period to file a motion to compel further responses to interrogatories begin to run upon service of a combination of unverified responses and objections if the motion challenges only the objections?” The question arises because under the statute, the clock on a motion to compel begins to run only once “verified response[s]” or “supplemental verified response[s]” are served.

Answering the question in the negative, the Court reasoned that because the statute requires responses to be verified, the time to move to compel does not run until those verifications are served. The fact that the movant in the case took issue only with the objections—which need not be verified—was irrelevant. Because those objections were accompanied by responses—which, again, must be verified—the time to move would not run until the verifications were served. The Court left for another day the “the possibility of an ‘absurd result’ … if there is no time limit on a motion to compel involving objections,” given the statute’s trigger of the service of verified responses when, in the case of an objections-only response, no verifications need be served.