If you just received a set of Requests for Admission, this cannot be said clearly enough: you are holding a ticking time bomb.
Each state’s rules of procedure are different, and this particular article will speak only to Arkansas. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding Requests for Admission in other states. In Arkansas, once the case is on file and pending, service between the parties’ attorneys can be accomplished through a variety of ways. Service in this manner is governed by Rule 5 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Requests for Admission in Arkansas are governed by Rule 36 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure. These two rules will provide you with the roadmap for getting this ticking time bomb off your desk and keeping your case intact.
Responses to Requests for Admission:
First, you should know that you have 30 days to formally respond to Requests for Admission. Do not wait until the last day to respond. The quicker you get this off your desk, the better. How do you respond? You have two options: admit or deny. If they cannot be admitted in full, deny them. The only word you have to type in response to the Requests are “Denied” to each and every one of them.
Ensure that your response conforms to the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, make sure it is signed, and make sure that you have attached a certificate of service. Verify the responses.
Responses must be filed of record:
Once you have done all this, you are still not out of the woods. After preparing these responses, you must file them of record. It matters not that other lawyers tell you not to file discovery responses. Rule 5 requires that Responses to Requests for Admission be filed of record. Even if the other party did not file their Requests for Admission, file your responses. There is some terrible case law out there that will control what happens to your case if you do not file your responses.
If you do not follow all of this advice, the Requests for Admission will be deemed admitted:
If you do not respond to the Requests for Admission in writing, in conformity with the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, and you do not file the responses of record within 30 days, the Requests for Admission will be deemed admitted as an operation of law. That likely means that you no longer have a pathway to prove each element of your personal injury claim, as all issues of fact will be resolved in favor of the other party. This will entitle the other party to summary judgment, or judgment as a matter of law.
For these reasons, it is imperative to hire an experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in discovery disputes for years.