Scope of Requests for Admission

Requests for admission are not primarily discovery tools.  Yes, you read that correctly and have no fear, you and I both have been wrong about it in the past.

Client receives the following requests for admission shortly after discovery opens.

  1. Admit that you have no evidence that Plaintiff had neck pain before the incident that is the subject of this lawsuit.
  2. Admit that you have no medical records evidencing that Plaintiff had neck pain before the incident.
  3. Admit that you have no evidence that Plaintiff received medical treatment to her neck before the incident.
  4. Admit that you have no medical records evidencing that Plaintiff had back pain before the incident.
  5. Admit that you have no evidence that Plaintiff received medical treatment to her back before the incident.
  6. Admit that you have no medical records evidencing that Plaintiff had shoulder pain before the incident.
  7. Admit that you have no evidence that Plaintiff received medical treatment to her shoulder before the incident.
  8. Admit that you have no actual evidence that Plaintiff caused or contributed to the incident.

How can the client respond at the beginning of discovery?  Requests for admission are binding and, if you admit that, at present, you have no such evidence, it will be difficult to change that answer later.  One local solution has been to simply object and state the request calls “for either crucial facts central to the lawsuit or legal concessions.”[1]  This, however, is a non-response.

Instead, it seems another response might be more appropriate in some contexts.  Colony Ins. Co. v. Kuehn explores the appropriate scope of a request for admission and when one is actually an interrogatory.[2]  The language of Kuehn seems to align with the language of Morgan.  Applied to the requests above, they are more likely interrogatories.  The client’s response would be to object and note these are actually interrogatories.  Even if they are interrogatories, I suspect these would qualify as contention interrogatories, thus potentially delaying the deadline to respond if needed.

[1] Morgan v. Demille, 106 Nev. 671, 799 P.2d 561 (1990) (superseded on other grounds by RTTC Communications, LLC v. Saratoga Flier, Inc., 121 Nev. 34, 110 P.3d 24 (2005)).

[2] 2:10-cv-1943, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106884, 2011 WL 4402738 (D. Nev. 2011).

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