28 Feb What Is a Request for Admissions in a Deposition?
Understanding a Request for Admissions
If you find yourself in a civil case, you want to make sure that your lawyer is making the best decisions and asking for the right information to give you the best chances in your case.
So, what is a request for admissions in a deposition? A request for admissions in a deposition is to limit the scope of the deposition and also to protect against witnesses who may not tell the truth. These requests serve as a litigator’s way to ask his or her opponent if certain facts about the case are true.
The purpose of these requests is to limit the scope of the deposition and also to protect against witnesses who may not tell the truth. These requests serve as a litigator’s way to ask his or her opponent if certain facts about the case are true.
Keep reading to learn more about depositions, and what a request for admissions during a deposition is.
Why Are Depositions Needed?
An investigation into the facts of a case is essential to every lawsuit. For an attorney to properly represent his/her client’s interests, they must have a complete understanding of the events that transpired surrounding the incident in question.
This knowledge can only be gained through a deposition conducted with one or more of the parties involved. Depositions are a method by which attorneys question witnesses who have been given notice and instructed on their legal rights.
Assuming there were no prior settlement talks between both sides after someone files a lawsuit against another person, their first step tends to be taking witness statements from both plaintiffs and defendants.
Witnesses are questioned under oath about what they saw or experienced during the time leading up to, during, and immediately following the incident.
Depending on the circumstances, these witness statements are then used to create a case that can be argued through trial or brought back to the table for settlement negotiations.
If both sides cannot agree with each other, there will most likely be a trial at some point in time with both witnesses and attorneys present. At this stage, the entire investigation into the facts is open for scrutiny by both parties with all available evidence being presented in court.
This evidence may include recorded telephone conversations, physical evidence such as fingerprints, video surveillance footage, text messages sent between people involved in the incident, medical records of injuries or damage incurred during said event, etc.
Depositions are necessary because they represent the first step for anyone who has been accused of wrongdoing. Once notice is given that they are being sued, the first thing they do is seek out an attorney to represent them during this investigation into the facts of the case.
The attorney will then conduct their independent research to find out exactly what happened and then prepare their client for any questions that could be asked during this deposition process.
Types of Depositions
There are two types of depositions that can take place: a full-blown deposition or just a simple statement taken by either side at their office without any opposing counsel present.
A full-blown deposition takes place in front of a court reporter who makes every word spoken official. These proceedings are recorded so they can be referenced back to if needed.
Each party has the opportunity to ask questions and in some cases, present expert witnesses who can lend their knowledge about some aspect of the case.
A simple statement only occurs when both sides agree that they do not need a court reporter and there will be no opposing counsel present during the time in which it takes place.
This type of deposition is sometimes referred to as an “office” deposition because it usually takes place at either side’s office with one attorney taking notes while the other party answers any questions posed by them or their legal counsel.
Any statements made under this circumstance cannot be used against either party if they change their story later on, but these types of depositions are most commonly used right before a full-blown deposition the defendant(s) can practice the questions they’ll be asked with their attorney beforehand.
While taking part in a deposition, either as the plaintiff or defendant, it’s important to remember that anything said during this time can be used against you at some point down the road if it is deemed necessary.
This can take place while sitting in court listening to other people testify about what happened during the incident at hand while sitting on the witness stand being questioned by your legal counsel or even by simply having these statements thrown back at you in written form when responding to evidence presented later on in the trial.
Needless to say, a deposition can be a lengthy and complicated process, with many rules that must be followed by the attorneys involved.
Understanding Requests for Admission
When an attorney is going to depose a witness, he or she will usually send that person written requests for admissions ahead of time. The purpose of these requests is to limit the scope of the deposition and also to protect against witnesses who may not tell the truth.
These requests serve as a litigator’s way to ask his or her opponent if certain facts about the case are true. If those facts are admitted as true, they become legally binding on the opposing party and cannot later be changed.
This form of discovery enables litigators to narrow down their questions during depositions and identify key facts about the case without having to spend time questioning witnesses under oath.
Of course, it also allows them to trap their opposition into making statements that could work against them in court.
When Are Requests for Admissions Used?
A request for admission is a list of statements about the case that both attorneys agree on. This reduces the need to ask broad questions at a deposition and increases the attorney’s efficiency by limiting how much time he or she has to spend with witnesses.
One example is when an attorney requests that his or her opposition admit that a given document is what they say it is. Another possibility arises when the attorney requesting the admission may ask that opposing counsel admit that the plaintiff suffered damages because of the defendant’s actions.
The law allows for any party to request an admission about anything pertinent to the case. This type of deposition is often used when there are many facts in dispute, as it creates a clear line of exactly what is true and not true.
However, it can be complicated if some issues aren’t phrased as requests for admissions – for instance, if an opposing party tries to change their story after receiving a request for admission.
In that case, the judge would have to decide whether certain testimony counts as a new fact or if it was already included in a previous request for admission.
How to Complete a Request for Admissions
There are legal rules that must be followed when creating a request for admissions, which are as follows:
- The inquiry is confined to the issues of the case. The requests must be unambiguous. Each request must be short and free of argumentation or opinions about anything that isn’t pertinent to the case at hand.
- Each numbered paragraph in the requests states only one fact – no questions or opinions allowed! Objectivity is key. There will be temptations to lean toward that, but we must make sure that facts are in the spotlight.
- Facts that are not admitted cannot later be submitted as evidence during court proceedings. A party will have ten to thirty days to respond to requests for admission, which are served along with the original discovery papers.
- The person receiving the requests for admission must admit or deny each point within thirty days of receiving them unless they’ve already agreed upon certain facts with their opposition, in which case those facts need not be repeated through an official request for admission process. If no response is given within thirty days, the fact is automatically admitted.
- A request for admission cannot be used later as evidence in court if you have not received a response from your opposition by the appropriate deadline.
- The federal courts do not allow requests for admissions to speculate on facts or opinions – for example, asking whether one party is “wrong” about something isn’t permitted, because it does not give them anything specific to respond to.
- Parties may request documents through written discovery instead of asking for admissions about the contents of those documents. This prevents unnecessary duplication of effort, where they would already know what’s inside the document but is required to ask their opponent simply because it was requested in writing rather than orally YET AGAIN through a request for admission.
- Requests for admissions require the judge’s approval before they can be submitted to the other party, and they usually only last for a certain length of time until depositions begin. The judge will usually limit requests for admissions to between three and five sets of interrogatories that must be answered within a month or two of requesting them.
While requests for admissions are just one of many depositions, it is something that can help make or break your case. This requires thorough action on your lawyer’s part. Work with your lawyer during the investigative aspect of your case, and you will be one step closer to both parties seeing the civil process be successful in the end.