Objections to Requests for Admission: Part 3

Less than two months into this blog’s existence, I posted about the proper scope for requests for admission. Almost two years later, I posted about objections to requests for admission. This post combines the first two based upon some requests I received in the last year.

Admit that on [date], at the time of the incident, which is the subject of this lawsuit, that defendant [employee] was operating the vehicle within the course and scope of employment with defendant [company]. (If denied, please state the factual basis upon which the denial is made.)

The first part sentence of this request is perfectly acceptable. It is asking about the master/servant relationship that Morgan v. Demille[1] discussed as an example of an appropriate request for admission. The second sentence in parentheses, however, is not a request for admission. It is an interrogatory, for the reasons discussed in Colony Ins. Co. v. Kuehn.[2]

The 21 requests for admission that followed all received this same response. Company “objects to this request for admission as improper per Morgan v. Demille, 106 Nev. 671, 799 P.2d 561 (1990) and Colony Ins. Co. v. Kuehn, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106884, 2011 WL 4402738 (D. Nev. 2011).” Why?

Admit that defendant [company] knows of no facts to suggest that outside the conduct of defendant [company] and/or its employee, there were no third parties who contributed to causing the [date] incident. (If denied, please state the facts upon which you think there was a third party who contributed.)

This is the classic improper request for admission. It is not a request for admission at all, it is an interrogatory. Further, it is a contention interrogatory. If served at the beginning of discovery, as this one was, then even this interrogatory is inappropriate because how can the responding party know this information without the benefit of the discovery process? If the interrogatory limit has not been exceeded, the responding party will need to answer this interrogatory eventually, but not immediately.

Admit that you are not in possession of any documentation, information or knowledge that supports your contention that forms the basis for your Third Affirmative Defense in your Answer to Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint that, “Plaintiff was comparatively negligent in the events alleged in the amended complaint.”

This request fails for the exact same reasons. The propounding party learned absolutely nothing by sending these requests for admission other than that my clients did not dispute course and scope. Technically the propounding party did not even learn that, because that fact had already been admitted in the answer and I was simultaneously representing the company and the employee. So what was the point of serving these requests for admission other than checking a box on a list?

Now, I was not challenged on any of these objections, so who knows if I was right, wrong or somewhere in between. Proper requests for admission can greatly narrow the issues remaining for trial. Improper requests just waste time and money.

[1] 106 Nev. 671, 675, 799 P.2d 561, 564 (1990).
[2] 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106884, 2011 WL 4402738 (D. Nev. 2011).