Sample Request for Admissions

How to Use Requests for Admission

We have long maintained that filing requests for admission makes sense in every case. You have a chance of hitting some real home runs. But even if all you accomplish is establishing distinct elements of your burden of proof, it is a sound investment of what is usually very little time.

Another proper use of requests for admission is to follow up critical denials with alternative interrogatories, drafted in light of counsel's answers to requests for admission. This is an easy way to flush out form denials.

One of our lawyers, learned this tactic during another life as defense counsel, remembering well trying to avoid the "rubber meets the road" of having to give legitimate answers. So he denied most of the requests and provided no real information and make not strategic commitments. Plaintiff's counsel followed up with good alternative interrogatories that went to all of the issues the defendant was trying to avoid taking a clear-cut position on at that stage of the case. They were just really tough questions to answer. The lesson was learned: we file RFAs in virtually every tort case.

RFAs often do not receive honest answers with "Deny Deny Deny" defense lawyers. "Plaintiff was injured in the accident" is a good example. If this request is denied, smart counsel will read the answers to a jury which is consistent with a common theme used in many cases: the defendant is refusing to accept any responsibility, even for painfully obvious facts that anyone reasonable would concede. Juries often suspect this as they get a flavor for the trial and the tactics the lawyers are using. But the "I deny you were injured" when the plaintiff was in a severe vehicle crash can turn a suspicion of defense deceit into a certainty.

Make sure when you draft these requests you do yourself a favor and ask real questions that are narrowly tailored to all of the facts. Requests like "Admit that everything in this deposition transcript is true," is not the kind of request anyone is going to answer, or a judge is going to make you answer.

Finally, and this is the hardest part, you have to follow up on the answers. Some plaintiffs' lawyer craft excellent requests for admission and then get ridiculous objections and do nothing about them. Defense lawyers have been conditioned to know that most attorneys will not hold their feet to the fire and demand real answers. You need to be the lawyer that keep the pedal on the floor and push for a real answer to the sought admission.

How Courts Deal with Requests for Admission 

Maryland Rule 2-424, which governs admissions of facts and genuineness of documents, provides that a party "may serve one or more written requests to any other party for the admission of … the truth of any relevant matters of fact set forth in the request." Importantly, Md. Rule 2-424 further mandates that if a party to whom requests for admissions of fact are propounded fails to file a response within 30 days, "each matter of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted." 

Like many states, Maryland follows Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(b), governing procedure regarding requests for admissions.  In following Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(b), the Maryland Court of Special Appeals has found that admission that would otherwise "result from a failure to make timely answers should be avoided when to do so will aid in the presentation of the merits of the action and will not prejudice the party who made the request."  It is not considered prejudice if it just inconveniences the propounding party. It must relate "to the difficulty which the party will face in proving its case."  It is hard to know where that line is drawn.  

More Information on Request for Admission

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