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How To Respond to Request for Admission

George Simons | July 21, 2022

Summary: Are you being sued for debt? Here's SoloSuit's guide to responding to a Request for Admissions when your case has moved to discovery.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

A Request for Admission shortens the lawsuit timelines and reduces the costs involved, although it may be complicated if not handled correctly. When you receive the Request for Admission document, you must respond as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. In addition, you must abide by the Rules of Civil Procedure to ensure that your response is well-prepared. Here's everything you need to know about how to respond to a Request for Admission and the requirements to submit an acceptable answer.

What is a Request for Admission?

During a civil case, a party to the lawsuit may serve the opposing party with a written request to admit to some facts about the lawsuit. The request may require the party to agree to statements, opinions, application of the law, or confirm whether some documents are genuine.

If you receive a Request for Admission, you must respond within 30 days unless the court states otherwise. Usually, the opposing party sends the request directly to your mail. Similarly, you should send your response back to the other party through the mail and not to the court responsible for the lawsuit.

It is also important to note that, in most states, failing to respond within 30 days will be interpreted as admitting everything. If this happens, you may lose the lawsuit or receive court sanctions.

A Request for Admission is not the same as a Complaint

The Complaint (or Petition) is the document that initiates a debt lawsuit. If you have already filed an Answer to the Complaint, you might receive a response from the plaintiff in the form of a Request for Admission. This means that the case has moved to discovery (the process by which both parties uncover facts, documentation, and other evidence against the opposing party). Check out this flowchart that outlines all the possible routes a debt collection lawsuit can take, including discovery:

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

The purpose of a Request for Admission is to get the defendant to admit or deny certain things under oath. Anything admitted in the response to the Request for Admission can be brought up during a future trial and considered true. So, it’s important to be very careful in the way you answer a Request for Admission, because your responses might be used against you in court.

With that being said, you might be wondering exactly how to an a Request for Admission, so here’s everything you need to know about it.

Answering the Request for Admission

Here's how to respond to a Request for Admission.

Mark the deadline for responding to the Request

It's crucial to understand how much time you have to respond to the request. This period may differ depending on state rules, the court handling the lawsuit, or the Rules of Civil Procedure. In addition, the judge may also change the deadline to a date suitable for your case.

Analyze each request

Read each request carefully to determine the most suitable response. Typically, you may admit, deny, or claim that you neither admit nor deny a request. You may also partially agree with the request and disagree with the other. In such a case, you must indicate which part you admit to and which part you deny in your response.

Prepare your Answer document

The next step is to prepare your response document. The document's caption should include your personal information, details about the case, and information about the other party at the top of the page.

In some states, you may be required to identify the parties as either the propounding party or the responding party. The propounding party is the party that sent the Request for Admission, while the responding party is you—the one replying to the Request for Admission.

Respond to each request

After completing the caption information, the next step is to respond to each request as accurately as possible. You must retype each request as it appears on the original document then indicate your response beneath each request.

For example, here's how your responses should appear in a debt collection lawsuit.

Deadline to Respond to Debt Lawsuit in all 50 States
Request example Response example
If you admit to a request Request No. 1: Please admit that you owe this debt of $10,000. Response No. 1: Admit
If you deny a request Request No. 2: Please admit that you owe this debt of $10,000 and an additional interest of $1000. Response No. 2: Deny
If you partly admit a request Request No. 3: Please admit that you owe this debt of $10,000 and an additional interest of $1000. Response No. 3: I admit that I owe the debt of $10,000, but I deny owing an additional interest of $1000.

You also have the option of objecting to a request based on various reasons. For example, if a request requires you to provide more than one response, you may object to it and indicate that the request is compound. You can also object to a request if it is vague, ambiguous, or unreasonable.

Sign the Document

Lastly, you need to sign your response document and include the preparation date. Depending on your state, you may be required to sign this document under penalty of perjury to be sure that the answers you provided are true and accurate.

How to serve your Answer to a Request for Admission

After completing your response document, the next step is serving the propounding party. You must also complete this process correctly to ensure that your response is acceptable. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Make copies of your Answer: Make copies of the response document and keep them for reference. You may also need to make a copy of the response for any other party in the lawsuit.

  • Include a Certificate of Service: A certificate of service is a document that proves you served your answer to the plaintiff. You should include the name and the address of the recipient and a statement declaring the filing date and the method used to file.

  • Serve your response: Next, serve the attorney of the propounding party and other parties to the case with your answer. If the case is in a federal court, you may have an option of serving your response electronically. All the parties of the lawsuit will receive a notification that you filed your response, so you won't need to send copies to each party through the mail.

  • Obtain proof of service: The proof of service is a document that confirms that the recipient received your response. Your server can prepare the document declaring the date and manner of service and the name and address of the recipient.

Making a reasonable inquiry

Requests for Admissions are governed by the Code of Civil Procedure which provides guidelines for completing a response and making a reasonable inquiry. Failure to comply with the guidelines in this code affects the outcome of the lawsuit. Here are some situations that break the codes governing Requests for Admission.

  • Failing to respond to the Request for Admission: The court will treat your failure to respond to the requests as admission and waiver all your objections. When that happens, you may lose the case or receive a sanction.

  • Making an unverified response: Some states require you to verify that the answers provided are true and accurate by signing the document under penalty of perjury. If you don't fulfill this requirement, the court will assume that you failed to respond to the requests.

  • Failure to make reasonable inquiry: You must make a reasonable inquiry before admitting, denying, or claiming a lack of sufficient knowledge to make a decision. The propounding party may file a Motion to Compel Further Responses from you if they believe you had access to reasonable information that would make you admit or deny the request. Additionally, the court may sanction you if they determine you had no good reason for failing to respond to the requests.

  • Failure to admit: If you falsely deny a request, the court may order you to pay attorney fees and the costs incurred by the other party. This, too, may affect the outcome of the case.

Responding after the deadline

Missing the deadline for filing your response to the request may cause you serious problems. If that's the case, you may need to contact your attorney to evaluate your options.

The propounding party will file a motion to have the admissions admitted. As a result, the judge will consider the admissions as true, reducing your chances of proving otherwise. However, some states allow you to prevent the judge from deeming the admissions as conclusively proven if you respond to the request before the hearing. The court may still order you to pay the court fees and the fees incurred by the other party.

Alternatively, you may file a motion to oppose or prevent the judge from considering the admissions as true. The motion should include your explanation of why you failed to respond to the request on time.

FAQs on responding to a Request for Admission

Here are some of the common questions about the Request for Admissions.

What is the purpose of the Request for Admission?

The purpose of a Request for Admission is to reduce the time for deciding a case by determining which facts about the lawsuit the parties mutually agree upon. As a result, it reduces the time spent on investigations and presenting facts before a judge during trial.

What are the remedies against a party that fails to respond to a Request for Admissions?

If a party fails to respond to your Request for Admission on time, you may request the court to deem all the requests conclusively true. These requests may include statements, applied laws, or document verification.

Key takeaways on responding to a Request for Admission

A Request for Admission is a vital step in a lawsuit—it significantly reduces the time and costs involved throughout the lawsuit. Usually, you have up to 30 days to respond to this request. But, given that this deadline varies from state to state, it's important to verify your state's deadline upon receiving the request.

In your answer, you can either admit to every claim, deny every claim, or admit to only a section of the claims.

Your response must also abide by the Code of Civil Procedure to be acceptable by the court. This may be a difficult task to accomplish without the help of an experienced attorney.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

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