Langeland v. Monarch Motors, Inc

In Langeland v. Monarch Motors, Inc., 952 P.2d 1058 (Utah 1998) the Court addressed the effect of a party's failure to timely respond to a request for admissions. In that case, the Court explained: "Requests for admission must be taken seriously, and answers or objections must be served promptly. The penalty for delay or abuse is intentionally harsh, and parties who fail to comply with the procedural requirements of rule 36 should not lightly escape the consequences of the rule." Id. at 1061. Rule 36 provides that the court may permit withdrawal or amendment of the admission 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 in maintaining his action or defense on the merits. Utah R. Civ. P. 36(b). The Court explained in Langeland that in order to show that withdrawal or amendment promotes the presentation of the merits of the action, the party seeking amendment or withdrawal must: (1) show that the matters deemed admitted against it are relevant to the merits of the underlying cause of action, and; (2) introduce some evidence by affidavit or otherwise of specific facts indicating that the matters deemed admitted against it are in fact untrue. 952 P.2d at 1062. If the moving party fails to satisfy this two-part test, the nonmoving party is relieved of its burden under rule 36(b) to show that it would suffer prejudice as a result of the withdrawal or amendment, and the trial court has no discretion to grant the motion for relief from the admissions. See id. at 1063-64.