By: Rick Davis
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What are Requests for Admissions?
Requests for Admissions are written statements sent from one party to another that the receiving party must admit or deny. If a party denies a statement contained in a Request for Admissions, he or she must provide a brief statement as to why the request is being denied. If the Request for admission contains some parts can be admitted and other parts that should be denied, the response should identify specifically what is being admitted and what is being denied.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the stage in litigation where parties can request information from each other or third-parties to prove or disprove the claims or defenses the parties have made. Litigation Discovery ensures that the parties and their counsel can learn the facts before trial and helps to narrow issues that may not be in dispute to keep the trial moving efficiently. The types of discovery requests we may receive or that we may send to other parties are Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories (written questions about the lawsuit), and Requests for Admissions (written statements that the other party requests that you either admit or deny). Additionally, each may party may request to conduct depositions, which is an opportunity to ask the opposing party questions under oath before trial. Parties may also request an inspection of any building or property that is subject to the lawsuit. Discovery is one of the more time-consuming parts of litigation, and therefore, it is important to start thinking about discovery early in the litigation process and to gather documents and information as soon as the case is filed to make it as easy as possible to respond to discovery requests.
What types of questions can be asked in Requests for Admissions
standards for discovery requests are very lenient, and the basic rule is that parties can ask for any information that is relevant or might lead to the discovery of relevant information. As such, the requests for admissions you receive may seem excessive or not directly related to the litigation, but for the most part, you are expected to respond to the request. The standard requirement is that you must answer the questions based on your knowledge. You do not have to conduct any research to find answers to the questions, and it is acceptable to respond that you do not recall if that is accurate. On the other hand, if the information requests are something that is within your control (e.g., dates of emails that are stored in your Gmail account), you will be required to obtain this information so as to respond to the discovery.
What are the rules related to Request for Admissions?
The rules surrounding requests for admissions—such as the number of requests that can be made, when they must be given to the other party, and how long the other party has to answer them—are all governed by the rules of procedure used in the court where the case was filed. In Missouri and most Kansas cases, you will have thirty days to respond to requests for admissions that the opposing party sends to you. If the case was filed under chapter 61 (disputes under $25,000) in Kansas, you have only fourteen days to respond to requests for admissions.
It is expected that the parties make a reasonable attempt to respond to the discovery requests within that timeline. However, it is common for parties to get extensions on the deadlines for responding to discovery requests. If responses to requests for admissions are not provided within the required time period, the court may declare those statements admitted. Therefore, it is very important that requests for admissions be treated seriously and that responses be provided as quickly as possible once they are received.
Why did we draft a request for information we already know or why is the other side asking something it should know?
Any attorney may draft certain requests for strategic reasons. For example, if there is a request for admissions, it may ask for admissions to things that one side knows the other is likely to deny. The reason for this is that if the party receiving the requests does not send a timely response, the court may declare the admissions admitted. Therefore, these requests are drafted to put certain information before the court in the event a response is not received. Moreover, an attorney may draft discovery requests to narrow the legal issues for the court or to establish that the other side does not have certain documents.
How will I know when Requests for Admissions have been received and how will I provide the firm with responses to the questions?
We will upload a copy of any discovery requests received into the shared Dropbox folder for your matter and will send you an email regarding the same. Because there are many steps in the process involved in responding to discovery requests, we have created a set procedure for handling these discovery request. This procedure is set forth in more detail at www.rickdavislegal.com/responding-to-discovery/.
How will I know when we have sent discovery requests to other parties or when responses to the discovery requests have been received?
We will provide a copy of any sent discovery requests and responses to the shared Dropbox folder for your matter. For more information on how to use Dropbox, please visit http://rickdavislegal.com/accessing-dropbox-files/.