Posts Tagged ‘request for admissions’

I can neither Admit nor Deny that Statement…

Toward the end of the Discovery process, you may decide to serve the opposing party, or any other person that you are considering calling as a witness, with Request for Admissions. Request for Admissions are your chance to put words in the opposing party’s mouth. No, really, they are an opportunity for you to write down a list of asserted facts that the other party must either admit or deny. You can also use a Request for Admissions to ask a party to admit to the genuineness of any relevant documents or electronically stored information described in or exhibited with the request.   Request for Admissions are a great tactic to pin down information for use at trial. With a list of Admissions in hand, you can simplify the material you present to a judge and use the rest of your trial to focus on only the remaining controversies. A party has 30 days to admit or deny every statement asserted in the Admissions. Any items not expressly admitted or denied are deemed admitted. Therefore, it is critical that you pay attention to the time line.

If you are trying to establish the value of your spouse’s monetary property, you may serve your spouse with the following list of Admissions:

1. Admit that you have a savings account at Bank of America worth $1,372.

2. Admit that you have a money market account with Morgan Stanley worth $10, 562.

3. Admit that you have a retirement account worth $37, 209.

4. Admit that Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of the 2010 Federal Tax Return you filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

If the party admits an asserted fact, or to the genuineness of a specific document—that information is deemed true for introduction as evidence at trial. The opposing party cannot later change their mind on the witness stand to try to deny information they stated to be true in their response to Admissions. For instance, if the opposing party admits to a retirement account worth $37, 209—he cannot later testify that the account was only worth $700 bucks.

If the party denies an asserted fact—the denying party must also provide an explanation for each denial. Denied assertions may not be entered into evidence at trial unless the party requesting the admission proves that information to actually be true. If that occurs, the denying party may be on the hook for any costs incurred by the party that proved that fact to actually be true. Again, using the above example, if the party denies the existence of any retirement account, and it is later proved that there is in fact a retirement account worth $37, 209—the denying party may be liable for the legal fees and any other costs associated with proving the existence of the account.

There is a third possible response to a request for Admissions—neither admitting nor denying a statement. For instance, if you are using adultery as the grounds for your divorce and you ask your spouse to admit an affair. Extramarital sexual relations are technically illegal; therefore admitting to such behavior is tantamount to admitting a crime. In this case, the opposing party would not be required to admit or deny a statement because the right not to self-incriminate trumps the directive to answer the Admissions. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney prior to responding to Admissions.

Remember, responses to Admissions are often the final word on a subject—at least until a judge offers his or her view on it!

This is the final article in an ongoing series about Discovery. As always, we here at Delaney & Keffler, LLC will take the time to fully explain Discovery, and help you obtain beneficial information. Contact us today at 410-535-3476 (FIRM) or for a free consultation.