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A civil case is ultimately all about discovering the truth in a disputed matter. In these situations, the plaintiff and defense teams both attempt to extract information from the other party and present evidence so the court can determine an appropriate course of action.
With attention to this, it’s common for one party to issue a request for admissions. Keep reading to learn about how a request for admissions works, why it matters, and how to execute one.
What Is Discovery?
In brief, discovery is the process of requesting and exchanging evidence relevant to the case at hand. It occurs before a trial, immediately following the initial meet-and-confer session. Discovery applies to tangible evidence and physical property, like paper documents and files.
Under Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), electronically stored information (ESI) is also evidence. This includes digital writings, graphs, drawings, photographs, charts, images, sound recordings, and other data or data compilations. Opposing legal teams exchange this information with one another through a process called eDiscovery.
Discovery and eDiscovery give both teams an equal opportunity to request and present evidence during a case. Together, they also help ensure a fast and efficient court proceeding.
What Is a Request for Admissions?
A request for admissions is a set of questions that attempt to get the other party to admit or deny specific allegations.
The rules for issuing and responding to a request exist in FRCP Rule 36.
FRCP Rule 36: An Overview
Under Rule 36, a party can serve any other party a written request to admit the truth of a matter.
The request must fall within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1). Further, it can only be for a pending action.
Additionally, the request may relate to “facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either.” It may also cover the genuineness of documents.
Rule 36 (a)(2): Form
Rule 36 (a)(2) says you have to state each matter separately. A request to admit the genuineness of a document needs to have an accompanying copy of the document unless it was specifically made available for inspection and copying.
Rule 36 (a)(3): Time To Respond
It’s important to realize that you have to respond to a request for admissions. Failure to respond can have significant repercussions and potentially cost you a case.
Under Rule 36(a)(3), a party only has 30 days to respond to a request for admissions after the serving date. This time frame may be shorter or longer under FRCP Rule 29 or by court order.
The receiving party has to provide either a written answer or an objection during this time. If the party does not answer or object during the allotted time frame, it is an admission.
Further, the party and the attorney must sign the response.
Answering a Request for Admission
There are specific rules regarding how you can respond to a request for admission.
If you don’t admit a matter, then you need to explicitly deny it or explain why you can’t truthfully admit or deny it. What’s more, the denial must respond to the substance of the matter.
If you can only answer or deny part of a matter, then you need to specify the exact part and qualify or deny the remaining part.
It’s possible to claim you can’t admit or deny a statement due to a lack of knowledge or information. However, this requires admitting to a reasonable inquiry as well as the fact that the information in question is insufficient for permitting an admission or denial.
Objecting To a Request for Admission
It’s important to note that a request for admission is not a court order. When it comes from another party during the discovery process, it’s simply a request. As a result, you have the right to object to a request for admission.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the other party will agree to the objection—especially if it involves a serious allegation. The other party may issue a motion to compel a response. But sometimes, objecting to admission can be a strategic move that can play out in your favor.
To object, you must state the grounds for objection. Moreover, you can’t object solely on the premise that a request presents a genuine issue for trial.
Rule 36(a)(6): Motion Regarding the Sufficiency of an Answer or Objection
The requesting party can move to determine whether an objection or answer is sufficient. Unless the court agrees to an objection, it must order the receiving party to serve an answer.
That said, if the answer doesn’t comply with the rule, the court has two options: it can consider the response an admission, or it can request an amended answer.
The court may also defer its final decision until a pretrial conference or another time before the trial.
Rule 36(b): Effect of an Admission—Amending and Withdrawing It
This part says that once you admit a matter, it conclusively counts as admission.
For example, if you admit to being near a bank when it was robbed, it becomes a fact of the case.
However, the court can, on motion, permit a recipient to withdraw or amend an admission under Rule 16(e).
Furthermore, admission isn’t an admission for any other purpose. In other words, it’s not possible to use an admission against a party in any other proceeding.
How Do You Write a Request for Admissions?
You have to submit a formal request for admissions to another party. For example, you can’t request an admission over the phone or in passing conversation.
The document should contain an introduction formally requesting that the other party fully answer the set of admissions in writing and under oath.
It’s also important to put a time frame indicating exactly how long the other party has to respond.
After the introduction, include a section with any specific legal definitions. Then, outline the specific requests for admission.
Finally, be sure to sign the document.
Optimize Your eDiscovery Process With Venio
If you want to maximize your chances in court, it’s critical to win the eDiscovery process. You have to remain organized and ready to respond to any request that comes your way.
Legal teams often struggle to meet tight deadlines because they cannot quickly pull, analyze, or present information during discovery requests.
It’s easy to streamline eDiscovery using a cloud platform like VenioOne—a one-stop shop for self-service eDiscovery management. More and more legal teams are using this platform to handle daily eDiscovery operations.
In sum, VenioOne aggregates data into one centralized and secure platform. You can use VenioOne to organize, analyze, and cull data—expediting your eDiscovery needs. The platform offers rapid processing and scalability, making your job even easier.
VenioOne ultimately makes it faster and simpler to sort through information and respond to requests. By using this platform, you’ll gain more time for analyzing data and forming responses and arguments.
Get the Latest Info on eDiscovery
eDiscovery is an evolving field, and it’s essential to pay attention to changing trends and regulations.
Venio now offers comprehensive eDiscovery certification, providing everything you need to get up to speed in this fast-changing space.
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.