An Admissions Request is a discovery tool used in litigation to confirm areas where the parties agree or lock one of the parties into certain positions or facts. They are written in a yes or no format that cannot be explained. The most important thing about admissions is that there is a deadline in which they must be answered and if you do not respond in a timely manner they are considered admitted. This means that the answer to any question asked in them is assumed to be admitted or affirmative. This can have dire consequences in your case, as the other party can use these considered admissions against you, either at trial or at a summary judgment hearing.
How you handle considered admissions depends on when you discover the issue. There are several times when the problem may or may never appear. The following are common times for considered admissions to become a problem:
1. During summary judgment. A motion for summary judgment alleges that the moving party’s case has already been proven to the extent that the court has no choice but to rule in favor of that party. Considered admissions are an excellent basis for a motion for summary judgment because they are considered statements by the non-responding party that admit guilt or at least the elements that the moving party must prove to win the motion for summary judgment. Usually, you learn that the other party is using the admissions under consideration as the basis for summary judgment when you receive the motion. The moving party is required to explain exactly why they should win automatically and should mention that they are using the estimated admissions. Once you receive this movement, the watch will start. You must resolve the issue before the hearing on the motion for summary judgment takes place. If necessary, you may need to ask the court for an extension of the motion for summary judgment to give you the time you need. You will need to file a motion to withdraw the considered admissions, which is a request to the judge that the admissions be withdrawn as deemed and given more time to respond. Generally, the judge will give you a very short time to present your answer after withdrawing the admissions under consideration.
2. At a hearing or trial. It is not uncommon for the attorney who sent the admission requests to fail to mention that there was no response. Then they will pull the admissions considered at a hearing or trial as a surprise. If this happens, you should immediately request a postponement to address admissions. If the judge refuses to grant the extension, which is likely, your only option is to object to the inclusion of the considered admissions and remind the judge and jury as often as possible that the admissions are not really yours, but are the the result of a legal technicality. This may cause the judge or jury to dismiss the admissions, although it is not necessary.