May 28, 2015 Articles

Requests for Admission: The Forgotten Weapon in the Litigator's Arsenal

Learn to use this powerful but often neglected tool

By Robert E. Sumner, IV and Deven Gray

Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides a procedure by which a party may request that another party "admit for the purposes of the pending action . . . the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1)." Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(1). Requests for admissions (RFA) may relate to "facts, the application of the law to fact, or opinions about either and the genuineness of documents." Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(1)(A–B). The purpose of a request for admission is to "reduce trial time." Fed. R. Civ. P. 36 advisory committee's notes. Admissions reduce time at trial because they ". . . facilitate proof with respect to issues that cannot be eliminated from the case," and "narrow the issues by eliminating those [issues] that can be [eliminated]." Id.

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