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Trial Practice: Motion to Withdraw Admissions

There is substance and there is process. Both are vital to knowing the game board and winning the game. In trial practice, you've got to know the intricacies of discovery. Tonight, our Marietta divorce attorney, Alyssa Blanchard, takes us to an infrequently used but vital tool in the litigation process.

Request for Admissions is a discovery tool that allows you to ask the opposing party specific questions that (s)he must either admit or deny. "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 subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-26 which are set forth in the request and 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." O.C.G.A. 9-11-36(a)(1).

If you receive a request for admissions, it is critically important that you respond timely. If responses are not received by the deadline they are deemed admitted. O.C.G.A. 9-11-36(a)(2).The facts alleged in the Requests are established. O.C.G.A. 9-11-36(b). The other side can and will use this to their advantage in court. It's a big deal.

However, If you have made admissions by failing to respond you haven't yet drowned in hot water. Your attorney can Move to Withdraw Admissions with the court. With this Motion you are asking the court to allow you to provide your actual responses and to withdraw the previous admission. You are asking the court for a second chance to provide your responses and to disregard those precious admissions. "Any matter admitted under this Code section is conclusively established unless the court, on motion, permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission..." O.C.G.A. 9-11-36(b). Whether the court allows you to withdraw your admissions is completely discretionary. Moore Ventures Ltd. Partnership v. Stack, 153 Ga. App. 215, 218 (1980). "[T]he 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 prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense on the merits." O.C.G.A. 9-11-36(b).

Although you can Move to Withdraw Admissions, that does not mean that the Court will grant your Motion. It is always best to respond to any discovery requests that you receive timely. It saves you attorney's fees and you avoid running the risk of admitting a fact that you otherwise would deny.

If Opposing Counsel has requested that you admit it, you can bet that it is fatal to your case. It is a big deal in trial practice. Respond. Don't let your silence condemn you.

Alyssa Blanchard

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