Consumer protection lawsuits in federal court: part 13 — request for admissions

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A request for admission is where one party asks another party to admit or deny some fact or combination of fact and law. Let’s take a look at this.

What rule allows for request for admissions?
These come under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 36. At the bottom of this post we have copied the rule so you can read it for yourself.

Who can send out a request for admission?
Only parties so either the Plaintiff who brought the suit or the Defendant who has been sued can send these out. This means a non party — someone not in the lawsuit — can’t use the lawsuit as an opportunity to question the Plaintiff or Defendant.

Who can the request for admission be sent to?
Only to the other side — a party in the case. So, for example, the Plaintiff can’t sent a request for admission to an insurance company that is not in the case.

Only a party can send a request for admission and only to another party.

Do these have to be sent in writing?
Yes, these are only in writing. In a sense a deposition (we’ll talk about this type of discovery soon) is a verbal form of request for admissions, but technically a true request for admission has to be in writing.

What are some examples of request for admissions?
In a case against a debt collector:
**Admit you are a debt collector as defined by the FDCPA.
**Admit that you made a collection call to the Plaintiff on July 8, 2016.
**Admit that the attached recording accurately reflects the phone call between you and the Plaintiff on May 17, 2016.
**Admit that you received a cease and desist letter from Plaintiff on February 8, 2016.

In a credit reporting case:
**Admit that you received Plaintiff’s written dispute concerning the Capital One account on April 27, 2016.
**Admit that you were under an obligation to investigate the dispute concerning the Capital One account once you received the Plaintiff’s dispute letter.
**Admit that you verified the judgment on Plaintiff’s credit report on May 15, 2016.
**Admit that the judgment you verified on April 7, 2016, was vacated by the Small Claims Court of Shelby County, Alabama, on or about February 14, 2016.

In a TCPA case against a company blowing up your cell phone with computer or robo dialers:
**Admit that you made over 100 calls to Plaintiff from the time you received Plaintiff’s revocation letter until the present date.
**Admit that your dialing system qualifies as an ATDS under the TCPA.
**Admit that you gained Plaintiff’s cell phone number from a skip trace.
**Admit that the Plaintiff never consented to you calling her cell phone number of 205-555-1212.
**Admit that in a call dated September 17, 2015, Plaintiff revoked any consent you had to call her cell phone number of 205-555-1212
In a foreclosure/RESPA case:
**Admit that you foreclosed while Plaintiff was less than 120 days behind on his mortgage.
**Admit that you received Plaintiff’s request for information/notice of error on February 17, 2016.
**Admit that your response to Plaintiff’s 12 request for information/notice of error letters was dated April 2, 2016, but not postmarked until April 12, 2016.
**Admit that Plaintiff submitted a loss mitigation package to you more than 38 days from the scheduled foreclosure date.
**Admit that you denied Plaintiff’s loss mitigation package for the sole reason that it was untimely in your opinion.

How long does the other party have to answer the request for admissions?
30 days from receiving them.

What happens if a party does not answer the request for admissions?
They are considered “admitted”.

What’s the big deal about a request for admission being admitted?
None if it is true. It simply means the parties don’t have to spend time fighting over an issue that has been admitted.

Can a party object to a request for admission to avoid having to admit it?
Apparently some defense lawyers think so based on how they answer these admissions. But this is not proper — instead only legitimate objections are to be used and if part of the admission can be answered, then the party is to answer whatever it can.

Judges don’t like parties playing games with request for admissions so this tends to cut down on people not taking these seriously.

If you live in Alabama and have any questions and don’t have a lawyer, feel free to contact us.
Most likely you are reading this because we represent you but if you have another lawyer representing you, contact your lawyer. If you live in Alabama and don’t have a lawyer (maybe you are researching before hiring a lawyer or filing suit), feel free to reach out to us.

You can call us at 205-879-2447 or contact us here.

Thanks for reading this and you can find our entire series here and the next one in this series will be on subpoenas which can go to non parties.

John Watts

PS — here is the actual rule if you would like to read it:

(a) Scope and Procedure.

(1) Scope. A party may serve on any other party a written request to admit, for purposes of the pending action only, the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1) relating to:

(A) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either; and
(B) the genuineness of any described documents.

(2) Form; Copy of a Document. Each matter must be separately stated. A request to admit the genuineness of a document must be accompanied by a copy of the document unless it is, or has been, otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying.

(3) Time to Respond; Effect of Not Responding. A matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after being served, the party to whom the request is directed serves on the requesting party a written answer or objection addressed to the matter and signed by the party or its attorney. A shorter or longer time for responding may be stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court.

(4) Answer. If a matter is not admitted, the answer must specifically deny it or state in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party may assert lack of knowledge or information as a reason for failing to admit or deny only if the party states that it has made reasonable inquiry and that the information it knows or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or deny.

(5) Objections. The grounds for objecting to a request must be stated. A party must not object solely on the ground that the request presents a genuine issue for trial.

(6) Motion Regarding the Sufficiency of an Answer or Objection. The requesting party may move to determine the sufficiency of an answer or objection. Unless the court finds an objection justified, it must order that an answer be served. On finding that an answer does not comply with this rule, the court may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court may defer its final decision until a pretrial conference or a specified time before trial. Rule 37(a)(5) applies to an award of expenses.

(b) Effect of an Admission; Withdrawing or Amending It. A matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court, on motion, permits the admission to be withdrawn or amended. Subject to Rule 16(e), the court may permit withdrawal or amendment if it would promote the presentation of the merits of the action and if the court is not persuaded that it would prejudice the requesting party in maintaining or defending the action on the merits. An admission under this rule is not an admission for any other purpose and cannot be used against the party in any other proceeding.

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