What is the penalty for failure to appear to answer interrogatories now that a civil show cause summons has been issued?

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2012

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What is the penalty for failure to appear to answer interrogatories now that a civil show cause summons has been issued?

This was for a bill of $168 to the library. The county attorney failed to send me the payment arrangement paper with the continued court date on it. I called and left her a message when I sent a $50 payment and explained that I was helping my mother out who lost her job, however, she never called me back or told me the continued court date. Now I have a show cause summons.

Asked on April 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Failing to appear for a court date can result in you losing the entire action by default, or if the court date is for a more-limited purpose (e.g. a specific motion), losing whatever is at stake in that particular appearance.

Failing to answer interrogatories could result in a variety of sanctions, including the answers being presumed to be against you by the court; having to pay the other side's legal fees and court costs in connection with the interrogatories; and potentially having your pleading dismissed, which means losing the case.

Failing to appear for a deposition can result in sanctions like the above, and also in contempt of court if you ignore a subpoena; contempt could theoretically result in some small amount of jail time, though that is very unusual in these situations.

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