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Timing Is Everything With Requests for Admission

by Katherine Tracy

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, recently considered the affect of serving premature requests for admission under Missouri Rule 59.01 in Lane House Construction, Inc. v. Ogrowsky, No. ED99897. In a case of first impression in Missouri, the Court of Appeals’ April 8, 2014 decision held that requests for admission that have been prematurely served are invalid  – “it is as if Plaintiff never propounded requests for admission.”

In Missouri, requests for admission may not be served on a defendant until after 30 days from the first event of the defendant entering an appearance or the defendant being served with process. Mo. Rule 59.01(c)(2)(B). Serving the requests before the expiration of these 30 days resulted in invalid requests and the “defendant is under no obligation to respond to those requests.”

In Lane House, the plaintiff relied on the requests for admission to support its motion for summary judgment. Because the requests were invalid, the Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment due to the existence of disputed material facts.

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