Requests for admission remain one of the most misunderstood aspects of discovery. They frustrate me on a regular basis and have generated a number of posts. This particular post arises from a file where Plaintiff served 29 requests for admission and moved to compel further responses to 13 of them because I objected that the requests as improper per Morgan. Each of the requests for admission below received the same objection: Defendant “objects to this request for admission as improper per Morgan v. Demille, 106 Nev. 671, 799 P.2d 561 (1990).”
Plaintiff moved to compel, arguing each of the objections were improper because the each request was “simple, fact based Request” to which Defendant could respond with a simple “yes or no.” Plaintiff also argued that if an objection is asserted, an explanation was necessary to explain why the Defendant could not admit or deny, rather than citing Morgan. Plaintiff lost on all points.
- Request 3: Admit that the vehicle Plaintiff was operating was traveling at or under the speed limit at the time of the subject collision.
The objection was sustained. Plaintiff’s “speed at the time of the accident is a crucial fact that is central to the lawsuit, because it directly establishes her negligence, if any.” “Put differently, this request effectively asks Defendant to concede that its affirmative defense has no merit with regard to Plaintiff’s speed at the time of the accident. It also seeks a legal concession that the designated speed limit was no lower than Plaintiff’s speed.”
- Request 4: Admit that you observed Plaintiff’s vehicle immediately (defined as within five seconds) before the subject collision occurred.
The objection was sustained. “Effectively, Defendant is being asked to admit her negligence, which is not a proper use of a request for admission under Nevada law.” “Asking Defendant to disclose whether she saw Plaintiff’s vehicle immediately before the accident strikes the court as an effort to use NRCP 36 for fact discovery, since what Defendant observed before the accident probably is not a fact that Plaintiff already knows.” The same explanation was later given to sustain the objection to Request 12: Admit that there was nothing obstructing your vision of Plaintiff’s vehicle immediately (defined as within five seconds) prior to the subject collision.
- Request 5: Admit that you admitted fault to the Plaintiff following the subject collision.
The objection was sustained.
This statement, too, is essentially asking Defendant to concede that she is at fault for the accident. Significantly, Plaintiff has not asked Defendant to admit that she spoke specific words. In that event, the words spoken by Defendant might have been heard by others (as reflected in witness statements or a police report, for example), and Plaintiff might reasonably believe that Defendant would not dispute that she uttered those words. Instead, Plaintiff is asking Defendant to agree with her implicit conclusion that the words spoken by Defendant – whatever they were – constitute an admission that Defendant caused the accident.
- Request 6: Admit that you were disciplined by your employer related to the subject collision.
The objection was sustained.
[T]his request would effectively had Defendant admit that her employer found her to be at fault for the accident, a finding which cannot be considered undisputed and peripheral. This statement also is not a proper request for admission because it will not expedite the trial. If true, the fact that Defendant’s employer found Defendant to be at fault is not a fact that Plaintiff must establish in her case in chief. Moreover, a finding of fault by Defendant’s employer does not in any way relieve Plaintiff from having to present other, independent evidence to establish Defendant’s negligence.
The same analysis applied to Request 23: Admit you were reprimanded by [your employer] (whether such reprimand was verbal or in writing) related to the subject collision. It also applied to Request 28: Admit you admitted fault to your employer following subject collision.
- Request 10: Admit that your failure to decrease your speed was a contributing factor to the subject collision.
The objection was sustained. The “request implicitly asks Defendant to concede both that she was negligent and that her negligence was a cause of the collision.” The request “presupposes that Defendant failed to decrease her speed, and would also require her to assess myriad factors to determine which ones did or did not play some role in causing the collision. These are crucial facts that are central to this lawsuit.”
- Request 11: Admit that you consumed drugs (whether they be prescribed to you or not), and or alcohol on the day of the subject collision.
The objection was sustained. “[A]sking Defendant to disclose whether she did or did not consume drugs or alcohol on the day of the collision strikes the Court as an effort to use NRCP 36 for discovery purposes (since what Defendant did in that regard is probably not a fact that Plaintiff already knows).”
The same analysis applied to Request 29. “Admit you were under the influence of drugs (whether they be prescribed or not) or alcohol at the time of the subject collision.” The complaint had not alleged facts to support this. The court noted even if those facts had been alleged, they do “not appear to be the kind of fact that would be undisputed at trial.” Further, if alleged, these facts “would constitute a crucial fact that is central to this lawsuit.”
- Request 15: Admit that you took no evasive action to avoid the subject accident.
The objection was sustained because “this request essentially asks Defendant to admit her negligence.” “Virtually any request for information about Defendant’s driving immediately before the collision would call for an admission regarding crucial facts that are central to this lawsuit.” This analysis applied to request 16: “Admit that you failed to brake your vehicle immediately prior to the subject collision with Plaintiffs’ vehicle.” It also applied to request 18: “Admit that you were driving in excess of the speed limit immediately (defined as within five seconds) prior to the subject collision.”
 The basic concepts for responding and objecting to requests for admission were previously discussed in prior posts and are not repeated here.