It is common for a party in litigation to serve the other party with a written request for admission pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.370. Under the rule, a party may request admission of the truth of any matters that fall within the scope of discovery “that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact….” The requests are limited to 30, including any subparts, unless the parties agree or the court grants a motion to allow more. The matter is considered admitted unless a written answer or objection is served upon the requesting party within 30 days after the request was served, or the time allowed by the court. If a matter is admitted, it is conclusively established unless the court allows it to be withdrawn or amended. The court may permit withdrawal or amendment when it will subserve the presentation of the merits, and there is no prejudice to the requesting party. Admissions are limited to the present action.
Since matters are deemed admitted if the party fails to answer in a timely manner, it is possible for a matter to be accidentally or inadvertently admitted. The Fourth District recently ruled on a case in which admissions were inadvertently made by the defendant.
In United Automobile Insurance Company v. West Hollywood Pain & Rehabilitation Center, the rehabilitation center, as the agent of an insured, filed suit against an automobile insurer for payment of personal injury protection benefits. The plaintiff requested admissions, including requests that the defendant admit liability. The defendant inadvertently filed a late response to the requests for admissions. The defendant moved for relief and on the same day filed an answer. Almost a year later, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment.