Rule 4014. Request for Admission.
(a) 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 Rules 4003.1 through 4003.5 inclusive set forth in the request that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness, authenticity, correctness, execution, signing, delivery, mailing or receipt of any document described in the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or available for inspection and copying in the county. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the original process upon that party.
(b) Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within thirty 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 an answer verified by the party or an objection, signed by the party or by the partys attorney; but, unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of forty-five days after service of the original process upon him or her. If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall admit or deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully do so. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and when good faith requires that a party qualify the 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 answering party states that he or she has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by him or her is insufficient to enable him or her 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. That party may, subject to the provisions of Rule 4019(d), deny the matter or set forth reasons why he or she cannot admit or deny it.
The requirements of an answer are governed by this rule and not by Rule 1029(b).
(c) The party who has requested the admission may move to determine the sufficiency of the answer or objection. 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 may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the request be made at a pre-trial conference or at a designated time prior to trial.
(d) 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 212.3 governing pre-trial conferences, 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 prejudice him or her in maintaining the action or defense on the merits. Any admission by a party under this rule is for the purpose of the pending action only and is not an admission by the party for any other purpose nor may it be used against the party in any other proceeding.
Prior Rule 4014 has been completely revised to conform to Fed. R.Civ.P. 36 as amended in 1970.
The amendments make the following significant changes in present practice:
(1) The scope of the requests is enlarged. The prior Rule permitted requests for admission only as to truth of any relevant matters of fact or the genuineness of any writing, agreement, or record. The revision will cover all matters within the scope of deposition Rules 4003.1 through 4003.5. This includes all matters that relate to the truth of any matter, but also to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact.
(2) The request may be made on any party; the prior Rule limited the request to adverse parties. The plaintiff may serve a request on any defending party after the party has been served with original process. A defending party may serve a request on the plaintiff at any time after the action is commenced.
(3) The respondent must answer or object. The answer must admit or deny in whole or in part. The form of a denial is clarified. Lack of information or knowledge is an insufficient denial, unless he avers that he has made reasonable inquiry and that the information available is still insufficient to enable him to admit or deny. Subdivision (b), unlike the Federal Rule, requires a sworn answer. The answer or the objections may be signed by the attorney.
(4) The form of the denial will not be governed by Pleading Rule 1029(b). Subdivision (b) provides that a denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission and when good faith requires that a party qualify his answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, he shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. Thus, a good faith general denial which would be insufficient under Rule 1029(b) might be sufficient here. (5) Where the respondent believes that a request for admission involves a genuine issue of fact for trial, this alone does not make the request objectionable. He must deny the matter or set forth reasons why he cannot admit or deny it. Sanction Rule 4019(d), which is specially mentioned in subdivision (b), provides that if, at trial, a party is required to prove that which should have been admitted, the expenses, including counsel fees, of proving such matters may be imposed upon the respondent unless the admission was of no substantial importance, or the request could have been held objectionable, or the respondent reasonably believed he could prevail at trial on the issue, or there was other good reason for the failure to admit.
(6) The time periods for answer or objection are conformed to the Federal Rule and extended from 10 to 30 days or to 45 days after service of original process.
(7) A specific procedure is provided in subdivision (c) for an early determination of the sufficiency of an answer or objection. The prior Rule provided no such determination before trial, and a party often came to trial uncertain whether the answer constituted an admission or denial. The amendment provides that the court may order the matter to be admitted or an amended answer to be served, or it may postpone the final determination of this issue to pretrial conferences or a designated time prior to trial.
(8) Finally, subdivision (d) sets forth the terms under which an admission may be withdrawn or amended and the effect of possible prejudice to the inquirer from an amendment or withdrawal. It also contains the important condition that the admission is localized in the pending action and cannot be used against him in any other proceeding.
The provisions of this Rule 4014 amended through October 16, 1981, effective October 16, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 3687; amended December 14, 1989, effective January 1, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 11; amended April 12, 1999, effective July 1, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 2281. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (228840) to (228842).
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