A Case Study in Requests for Admission

Requests for admission are still one of the least understood discovery tools provided in American courts.  For every good request I see, there are dozens that are awful.  However, there are multiple ways to handle requests depending upon the situation and the client’s objectives.  Gurshin v. Bank of Am. Nat’l Ass’n is a case study in at least two different handling options.[1]

BoA sent Gurshin various requests for admission concerning the authenticity of certain documents.  She responded to certain of these requests by stating she was “[u]nable to admit or deny at this time, and am examining my own documents and will supplement within three weeks.”  Without an agreement with the opposing party to extend or a court order extending the deadline to respond, I do not believe that is an adequate response, but it seems this point was not argued.  Gurshin eventually supplemented her responses to these requests, but merely “stated she was ‘still unable to admit or deny.’” This response was problematic because she “did not explain the steps she took in attempting to answer the request nor did she explain why she lacked sufficient information to admit or deny. As Gurshin has not provided a proper response or objection,” these requests were deemed admitted.

Not to be outdone, Gurshin had served requests for admission on BoA and moved to also deem them admitted.  These produced a far more detailed and insightful analysis of how both to draft substantive requests for admission, but also how to carefully object to them.  This is not to say BoA was completely successful.  Its objections to various requests for admission that various documents spoke for themselves was improper and overruled.

I can think of other objections to the requests for admission Gurshin discussed, but I can also think of other ways to respond.  Again, the “proper” response depends upon the situation and client.

[1] No. 2:15-cv-323, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2135, 2017 WL 68650 (D. Nev. Jan. 5, 2017).