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Requests for admission in California

Requests for admission in California

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Published by Stan Burman

This is issue number 3 of the weekly California legal newsletter. The topic is requests for admission in California litigation. The author is a freelance paralega working in California litigation since 1995.

This is issue number 3 of the weekly California legal newsletter. The topic is requests for admission in California litigation. The author is a freelance paralega working in California litigation since 1995.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Stan Burman on Sep 01, 2012
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10/07/2013

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1The topic of this issue of the newsletter will be the use of requests for admission in Californiacivil litigation. Requests for admission are a vital tool for getting certain admissions or denialsof issues relevant to the lawsuit on record before the trial, as well as authenticating certaindocuments. There are two types of requests for admission, truth of facts, and genuineness of documents.Parties in California dissolution (divorce) proceedings can utilize the same discovery proceduresthat are used in California civil litigation as the same rules and procedures are applicable unlessanother statute or rule has been adopted by the California Judicial Council. See
 Family Code
§210.The rules governing requests for admission are found in
Code of Civil Procedure
§ 2033.010, etseq.
Code of Civil Procedure
§ 2033.010 states that, “Any party may obtain discovery within thescope delimited by Chapters 2 (commencing with Section 2017.010) and 3 (commencing withSection 2017.710), and subject to the restrictions set forth in Chapter 5 (commencing withSection 2019.010), by a written request that any other party to the action admit the genuinenessof specified documents, or the truth of specified matters of fact, opinion relating to fact, or application of law to fact. A request for admission may relate to a matter that is in controversy between the parties.”A defendant may propound requests for admission at any time, however a plaintiff may not do sountil at least ten (10) days have passed since service of the summons on the defendant, or thegeneral appearance by the defendant, whichever occurs first. See
Code of Civil Procedure
§2033.020.There is a numerical limit of thirty five (35) on the number of requests for admission as to thetruth of facts. However if a supporting declaration stating that any additional requests for admission are warranted due to the complexity of the case and other certain factors is attached,then any party may propound additional requests for admission. See
Code of Civil Procedure
§§2033.030 and 2033.040.There is no numerical limit on requests for admission of the genuineness of documents except as justice requires to protect the responding party from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment,oppression, or undue burden and expense. See
Code of Civil Procedure
§§ 2033.030 and2033.050.
These rules only apply in an unlimited civil case, in which the amount beingdemanded in the lawsuit is more than $25,000.
There are certain format restrictions on requests for admission. No request for admission maycontain subparts, or a compound, conjunctive or disjunctive question. See
Code of Civil  Procedure
§ 2033.060. This means that a request for admission cannot contain part a, b, c, etc.,nor can it contain a question with more than one part, and it cannot contain the word “and”which is conjunctive, it also cannot contain the word “or” which is disjunctive.Although many requests for admission do violate these format rules any party using such a
 
format runs the risk of the responding party objecting on those grounds.To use an example as to how requests for admission can be used, consider a breach of contractcase alleging a breach of a written contract. A copy of the written contract should be attached asdocument number 1. The responding party should be asked to admit that the document isgenuine, and also asked to admit that they signed the document, to admit that they breached theterms of the contract in some way, that plaintiff performed all terms and conditions requiredunder the contract, etc. The defendant should be asked to admit that all of the elements requiredfor a breach of contract action are true.A complaint for breach of contract must include the following: (1) the existence of a contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for non-performance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) damagesto plaintiff therefrom.
 Acoustics, Inc. v. Trepte Construction Co.
(1971) 14 Cal.App.3d 887, 913.In an unlimited civil case the use of the Form Interrogatories-General, Judicial Council FormDISC-001 is recommended as it should be prepared and served concurrently with the requests for admission. In addition to checking all of the other relevant boxes on the Form Interrogatoriesincluding box 15.1, a party should be sure to check box 17.1 as this will force the responding party to provide a detailed response for each response to a request for admission that is NOT anunqualified admission. Also check boxes 50.1 through 50.6 as those boxes relate to a breach of contract action.This is just another way to force the defendant to provide the details of any possible defenses thatthey are claiming, who has personal knowledge of the facts relating to their defenses, whatdocuments support their defenses, and who has possession of said documents.In other types of cases ask the defendant to admit all of the necessary elements of whatever  particular cause(s) of action are included in the complaint. Details of the elements for mostcauses of action can be found in the California Civil Jury Instructions, if they are not found therea search through legal treatises such as Witkin® or California Forms of Pleading and Practice® by Matthew Bender may be necessary. Note that a party may not amend or withdraw their response to any request for admission withoutrequesting leave of Court to amend or withdraw their admission. See
Code of Civil Procedure
§2033.300. This is in contrast to responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents which in most cases may be amended or supplemented.If you enjoy this newsletter, tell others about it. They can subscribe by visiting the followinglink: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm Have a great week and thanks for being asubscriber.Yours Truly,Stan BurmanThe author of this newsletter, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked inCalifornia litigation since 1995.

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