RULE 36. REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION
1 (a) Scope and Procedure.
2 (1) Scope. A party may serve on any other party a written request to admit,
3 for purposes of the pending action only, the truth of any matters within the scope
4 of Rule 26(b) relating to:
5 (A) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either; and
6 (B) the genuineness of any described documents.
7 (2) Form; Copy of a Document; Timing. Each matter must be separately
8 stated. A request to admit the genuineness of a document must be accompanied by
9 a copy of the document unless it is, or has been, otherwise made available for
10 inspection and copying. A party may serve the request on the plaintiff after
11 commencement of the action and on any other party after service of the summons
12 and complaint on it.
13 (3) Time to Respond; Effect of Not Responding. A matter is admitted
14 unless, within 30 days after being served, the party to whom the request is directed
15 serves on the requesting party a written answer or objection addressed to the matter
16 and signed by the party or its attorney. A defendant is not required to serve its
17 answer or any objections until 45 days after service of the summons and complaint
18 on it. A shorter or longer time for responding may be stipulated to under Rule 29
19 or be ordered by the court.
20 (4) Answer. If a matter is not admitted, the answer must specifically deny it
21 or state in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A
22 denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith
23 requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer
24 must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party
25 may assert lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failing to admit or
26 deny only if a party states that it has made reasonable inquiry and that the
27 information it knows or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or
29 (5) Objections. The grounds for objecting to a request must be stated.
30 (6) Matter Presenting a Trial Issue. A party must not object to a request
31 solely on the ground that it presents a genuine issue for trial. The party may deny
32 the matter or state why it cannot admit or deny.
33 (7) Motion Regarding the Sufficiency of an Answer or Objection. The
34 requesting party may move to determine the sufficiency of an answer or objection.
35 Unless the court finds an objection justified, it must order that an answer be
36 served, On finding that an answer does not comply with this rule, the court may
37 order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The
38 court may defer its final decision until a pretrial conference or a specified time
39 before trial. Rule 37(a)(4) applies to an award of expenses.
40 (b) Effect of an Admission; Withdrawing or Amending It. A matter
41 admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court, on motion,
42 permits the admission to be withdrawn or amended. Subject to Rule 16, the court
43 may permit withdrawal or amendment if it would promote the presentation of the
44 merits of the action and if the court is not persuaded that it would prejudice the
45 requesting party in maintaining or defending the action on the merits. An
46 admission under this rule is not an admission for any other purpose and cannot be
47 used against the party in any other proceeding.
48 (c) Signature. The person who responds to the request must sign the
49 response, and the attorney who objects must sign any objections.
50 EXPLANATORY NOTE
51 Rule 36 was amended, effective March 1, 1990; March 1, 1997; March 1,
52 2011; March 1, 2018.
53 Rule 36 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the
54 December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language
55 and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood
56 and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
57 Subdivision (c) was added, effective March 1, 2018, to require the person
58 who responds to a request for admission to sign the response document and for an
59 attorney who makes objections to sign the objections.
60 SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of September 29-30,
61 2016, pages 22-23; January 29-30, 2009, page 31; September 28-29, 1995, page
62 15; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; November 29-30, 1979,
63 page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 36.
64 CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 16 (Pre-Trial Procedure Formulating
65 Issues), N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P.
66 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to
67 Make Discovery Sanctions).