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