Obsolete Date: 3/1/1997
(a) Request for Admission. A party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b) set forth in the request that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any documents described in the request. Copies of documents must be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. The request, without leave of court, may be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each matter of which an admission is requested must be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by the party's attorney. Unless the court shortens the time, a defendant is not required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. If objection is made, the reasons therefor must be stated. The answer must specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial must fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and if good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, the party shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless the party states that the party has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by the party is insufficient to enable the party to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; the party, subject to the provisions of Rule 37(c), may deny the matter or set forth reasons why the party cannot admit or deny it.
A party who has requested admissions may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with the requirements of this rule, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court, in lieu of these orders, may determine that final disposition of the request be made at a pre-trial conference or at a designated time before trial. The provisions of Rule 37(a)(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(b) Effect of Admission. Any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. Subject to the provisions of Rule 16 governing amendment of a pre-trial order, the court may permit withdrawal or amendment when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the party who obtained the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will be prejudicial in maintaining the action or defense on the merits. Any admission made by a party under this rule is for the purpose of the pending action only and is not an admission for any other purpose nor may it be used against the party in any other proceeding.
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).