CBA Record July-August 2019
determining good cause, there may not be a wide-ranging inquiry into the totality of the circumstances. The noncompliant party must establish good cause by “clear, objective reasons.” While attorney error can be a basis for good cause, do you really want to put yourself in a position of asserting your own incompe- tency? Fail to Get Party’s Signature Method number 2: Have the response to the request to admit signed by the respondent’s lawyer, not by the client. On the contrary, the response to a request to admitmust be signed by the party towhom the request is propounded, not by the party’s attorney. If the attorney signs the denial, the denial is an admission. Magee v.Walbro, Inc., 171 Ill.App.3d 774, 780 (1st Dist. 1988); Brookbank v. Olson, 389 Ill.App.3d 683, 686-87 (1st Dist. 2009); County Treasurer, 2012 IL App (1st) 112897, ¶ 29.This means that you likely will have to send the response to your client for signature, and that the round-trip of the document is going to take time. (See Method No. 2 above: let the time for a response expire.) Fail to Sign under Oath Method number 1: Do not have the response signed under oath. On the contrary, to be proper, any response that contains a denial must be signed under oath. If a denial is attempted, but is not sworn, the matters requested to be admitted are deemed admitted. County Treasurer, 2012 IL App (1st) 112897, ¶ 27; Armagan , 2014 IL App (1st) 121840, ¶ 16; Tires ‘N Tracks, Inc., 331, Ill.App.3d at 92; Zwicky, 373 Ill.App.3d at 140. Rule 216’s requirement of a sworn response must be strictly complied with by the respond- ing party. County Treasurer; Armagan. An unsworn denial is not a denial; it is an admis- sion. Richard Lee Stavins is a shareholder in the law firm of Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd. He concentrates his practice in trial and appellate litigation. He is a member of the CBA Tort Litigation Committee and serves on the CBA Record Editorial Board.
The Young Lawyers Section recently hosted law students from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain for a mock trial demonstration to give the students insight into the American legal system. The demonstration was held at the Richard J. Daley Center with Judge Thomas Mulroy “presiding” and volunteer young lawyers playing various roles in the mock trial scenario. The practice problem involved a breach of contract claim arising from the respondent’s failure to pay for a vacation rental property in Madrid. If you would like to be a part of future YLS volunteer opportunities, email email@example.com to get involved.
request to admit. The Supreme Court has made obtaining an extension of the dead- line to file a response to a request to admit extremely difficult. In Vision Point of Sale, Inc., v. Haas , 226 Ill.2d 334, 344, 349, 353 (2007), and Bright v. Dicke , 166 Ill.2d 204, 209-210 (1995), the court established the following strict parameters for any attempt to extend the due date of any aspect of a response to a request to admit: Without regard to whether the extension is sought before or after the time expires, an extension may be granted only on good cause shown, and the burden is entirely on the party seeking an extension to show good cause. In opposing any attempt to extend the due date, the propounding party need not show anything. In determining whether the noncompliant party has shown good cause, the court may not take into account facts and circumstances that go beyond the reason for noncompliance. Vision Point of Sale , 226 Ill.2d at 353. As Vision Point of Sale makes clear, absence of inconvenience or absence of prejudice to the propounding party do not establish good cause. Good cause is not synonymous with the propounding party’s lack of harm. Any discretion to allow a late response to be filed comes into play only after the non-complying party seeking the extension first establishes good cause. In
request to admit nor the response are filed with the court. S. Ct. Rule 201(m); Arma- gan, ¶ 16. Hence, there is no filing date for either instrument, and the 28 day deadline therefore cannot be pegged to any date of filing. Rather, the 28 days is counted from the date of service of the request to the date of service of the response. S. Ct. Rule 216(c). Rule 12(c) prescribes how to calculate the number of days allotted to service of each document, depending on the method used (U.S. mail, e-mail, overnight courier, deliv- ery, etc.). Suffice it to say that making the calculation can be difficult and disputed. Accordingly, the best practice is simply this: NEVER wait until the deadline is approaching to respond to a request to admit. Diary what you believe is the correct dead- line, but respond immediately upon receipt of the request. Do not put the request or the proposed response into the proverbial do- this-soon-but-not-urgent pile on your desk. Treat Extension Request Like a Routine Motion Method number 3: If you need an extension of time to respond to the request to admit or if you miss the deadline, just file a routine motion for more time, like you would when you need more time to file a brief. On the contrary, there is nothing routine about extending the time to respond to a
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