Here is part four of our 5-part series on the discovery process in Texas court. Before parties go to trial, they gather information from each other so the trial can go as smooth as possible. Today we'll learn about "request for admission."
Following the information gathered in interrogatories, request for production, and request for disclosure, the request for admission phase seeks to confirm or deny the facts brought up in these previous discovery processes. This includes a "written request that the other party admit the truth of any matter within the scope of discovery, including statements of opinion or of fact or the genuineness of any documents served with the request or otherwise made available for inspection and copying."
The purpose of this phase is for both parties to agree on certain claims, so those claims can be set aside and not worried about during the trial. For example in a medical negligence case regarding a botched surgery, a plaintiff could send a request for admission to the defendant that the defendant was the doctor performing the surgery in question. This prevents extra time and costs to prove obvious facts so the case can move on quickly and smoothly.
A big difference between requests for admission and other forms of discovery is the conclusive and preclusive value of evidence. An admission conclusively proves a fact that was already admitted to (oftentimes in an earlier phase of discovery). Also, once the fact is admitted to, no other evidence is permitted to disprove that fact.
When you are served a request for admission, you must confirm or deny the request, or explain in detail why you cannot confirm or deny it. In most cases, the admission comes from information brought up previously in discovery so the declination of the request must have a valid reason (such as privileged information). It's also important to not over-explain...the less information given, the less ammunition the other side has.
We will conclude the discovery process with "depositions." It is crucial to know the steps of this process, so think about how you would respond to the questions as they relate to your case. If you believe you are involved in a situation that requires legal action, please call Reich and Binstock today.