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What Is a Request for Admission?

If you are involved in a civil lawsuit, there are probably a lot of legal terms being used that you might not understand. One of them could be "request for admission."

Before we get into specifics about what a request for admission is, let's lay some groundwork. The first concept to understand is discovery. Discovery is a process that takes place during a lawsuit before a trial and allows each party to obtain evidence from the other party or parties.

Requests for Admission Are Part of Discovery

One way to conduct discovery is through written discovery requests such as requests for admission. Requests for admission allow one party to ask another party to admit or deny certain statements while under oath. That way, admitted statements can be considered true during the trial.

Establishing "truths" that the parties agree on before the trial helps determine what aspects of the case are in dispute and limits the scope of the trial.

Typically, requests for admission involve discoverable information that pertains to the lawsuit, and how the law applies to that information.

For example, in a lawsuit about a contract dispute, Party A could ask Party B to admit or deny that Party B ordered 100 widgets from Party A on a given date. Party A could also ask party B to admit or deny if, under the law, the order formed a contract with Party B. If Party B admits both, then it could be considered factual at the trial that the order was placed and a legal contract was created.

Requests for admission can also serve as a way to ask other parties to verify that documents are genuine.

Do I Have to Answer Requests for Admission?

If you are served a request for admission — also known as a request to admit — you are required to provide an answer for each admission request, either by admitting it, denying it, or explaining why it cannot be admitted nor denied.

Rules Vary Depending on Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the authority that a given court has to rule over a particular matter. Sometimes, state courts have jurisdiction over lawsuits and other times federal courts have jurisdiction over matters. Each court system has different rules regarding requests for admission, so it's important to follow the rules of the court that has jurisdiction over your case.

Check out Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36 for federal court rules and the State Civil Procedure Rules for state court rules.

The rules of civil procedure, which also govern the discovery process, can get confusing and overwhelming quickly for people who are not attorneys or have not been through litigation before. An experienced civil litigation attorney in your area can explain the discovery process in your jurisdiction and advise you on steps to take to protect your interests.

What Is an Unqualified Admission?

Certain jurisdictions use discovery forms with requests for admission that ask parties to provide additional information for answers that were not "unqualified admissions." The term "unqualified admissions" simply refers to admission requests that you admitted without further explanation or objection. Admissions with "qualifying" statements will require more explanation in supplemental questions.

An Attorney Can Help You Avoid Discovery Mistakes

Requests for admission are typically a little more difficult for people to understand compared to the other two types of written discovery requests: interrogatories and requests for production of documents.

It's extremely important that you understand how to answer discovery requests in a way that does not jeopardize your case. An experienced civil ligation attorney in your area can protect your legal interests.

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