United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Defendant Paul Switzer's
Motion to Have Requests Previously Deemed Admitted by Law Be
Withdrawn and/or Amended [DE 222] filed on May 19, 2017.
Plaintiffs filed a response on June 2, 2017, and Defendant
Switzer filed a reply on June 8, 2017. For the reasons stated
below, the Court grants the Motion.
18, 2016, Defendant Switzer filed a Motion to Dismiss the
claims pending against him. On August 3, 2016, Plaintiffs
served Requests for Admissions on Defendant Switzer. The
Motion to Dismiss was denied on March 31, 2017. On April 4,
2017, in ruling on a Motion to Compel, the Court informed the
parties that, due to Defendant Switzer's failure to
respond to the Requests for Admission and by operation of
Rule 36(a)(3), Defendant Switzer had admitted the matters
addressed in the Requests for Admission. Defendant Switzer
now asks to withdraw those admissions.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a), if a matter is
requested to be admitted pursuant to that Rule, the matter is
deemed admitted if the party to whom the request is directed
does not serve on the requesting party a written answer or
objection to the request within thirty days. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a).
may seek relief from matters deemed admitted by filing a
motion with the Court asking to permit the withdrawal or
amendment of the admissions. Id. at 36(b); see
also Banos v. City of Chi, 398 F.3d 889, 892 (7th Cir.
2005). According to Rule 36, “[a] matter admitted under
this rule is conclusively established unless the court, on
motion, permits the admission to be withdrawn or
amended.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(b). Rule 36(b) further
provides that “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.” Id.
pursuant to Rule 36(b) that Defendant Switzer files his
Motion to Withdraw Admissions. Defendant Switzer admits that
he did not serve timely responses to the Requests for
Admission and indicates that he did not respond to the
Requests for Admission because of his pending Motion to
Dismiss. As the Court made clear in its April 4, 2017 Opinion
and Order, Defendant Switzer was mistaken in his assumption
that the pending Motion to Dismiss relieved him of any need
to participate in discovery.
presentation of the merits, Defendant Switzer argues that
permitting the withdrawal of his admissions would promote the
presentation of the merits of this action. The matters
addressed in the Requests for Admission are central to the
issues in dispute. Plaintiffs counter that they believe the
admissions likely to be the truth, and therefore withdrawal
of the admissions is not necessary in order to present the
merits of this action. That Plaintiffs and Defendant Switzer
disagree about matters central to the case is unsurprising.
Despite Plaintiffs' contention to the contrary, allowing
Defendant Switzer to withdraw his admissions will promote the
presentation of this action on the merits.
prejudice, “[h]aving to prove one's case on the
merits is not the type of prejudice that satisfies Rule
36(b).” Wells v. EMF Corp., 757 F.Supp.2d
796-97 (N.D. Ind. 2010) (quoting Van Hoose v. Nucor
Corp., No. 1:06-cv-01565, 2007 WL 2898697, at *1 (S.D.
Ind. Apr. 13, 2007)). In support of a finding of prejudice,
Plaintiffs point to the deposition scheduled for Defendant
Switzer for June 30, 2017, and the July 31, 2017 fact
discovery deadline. Plaintiffs also assert, without further
detail, that they have relied on the admissions in
formulating their discovery and summary judgment strategy
following the Court's April 4, 2017 Opinion and Order.
Plaintiffs provide no specific matters in which they would be
prejudiced. For example, Plaintiffs do not state that they
have already prepared for Defendant Switzer's deposition.
The Court is not persuaded that Plaintiffs will be prejudiced
by allowing the admissions to be withdrawn.
both prongs of the Rule 36(b) standard for permitting the
withdrawal of admissions are met, the Court has the
discretion to decide whether to permit Defendant Switzer to
withdraw his admissions. Plaintiffs argue that the Court
should not exercise this discretion because Defendant Switzer
made the intentional choice to disregard the Requests for
Admission and because Defendant Switzer waited six weeks
after the Court's April 4, 2017 Opinion and Order to file
the instant motion.
Switzer's reliance on his pending Motion to Dismiss in
deciding to ignore the Requests for Admission was ill-placed
but not necessarily made in bad faith. Defendant
Switzer's lack of response is more intentional than
instances where a party inadvertently misses a deadline to
respond, but there is no evidence or argument before the
Court to indicate that Defendant Switzer was deceptively
withholding information from Plaintiffs in order to gain an
unfair advantage in this litigation. Further, the Court does
not regard the six weeks between the issuance of the
Court's Opinion and Order and the filing of the instant
Motion to provide reason to withhold permission to withdraw
the admissions. Defendant Switzer's deposition is over
two weeks away, and the fact discovery deadline is several
weeks in the future. The Court, in its discretion, will allow
Defendant Switzer to withdraw his admissions.
argue that they should be awarded their expenses and costs of
relying on the admissions in planning their discovery and
summary judgment strategy. This case is unlike Van
Hoose, which Plaintiff cite in support of an award of
expenses and costs. No. 1:06-cv-01565, 2007 WL 2898697 (S.D.
Ind. Apr. 13, 2007). In Van Hoose, the requesting
party had relied on the admissions in filing a motion for
summary judgment, and the Van Hoose court awarded
expenses and costs to eliminate prejudice to the requesting
party. Plaintiffs do not indicate that they have already
relied on the admissions in preparing for Defendant
Switzer's deposition or any other matter other than the
forming of strategy, about which Plaintiffs provide no
further details. The Court finds that an award is not
on the foregoing, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendant Paul
Switzer's Motion to Have Requests Previously Deemed
Admitted by Law Be Withdrawn and/or Amended [DE 222] and
ORDERS Defendant Paul Switzer to serve on Plaintiffs his
Answers, which ...