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July 25, 2011


A party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26.02 set forth in the request that relate to (a) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either; and (b) the genuineness of any described documents. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.

Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by the party’s attorney, but, unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant. If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, the party shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless the party states that he or she has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by the party is insufficient to enable the party to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; the party may, subject to the provisions of Rule 37.03, deny the matter or set forth reasons why the party cannot admit or deny it.

The party who has requested the admissions may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with the requirements of this rule, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the request be made at a pre-trial conference or at a designated time prior to trial. The provisions of Rule 37.01(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. [As amended July 1, 1979; and by order filed December 21, 2010, effective July 2, 2011.]

Advisory Commission Comments [2011]. This amendment to Rule 36.01 is the same change that was made to Rule 36(a) ofthe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2007. This change reinforces the point that arequest is not objectionable merely because it asks an adversary to admit an opinion about facts or an opinion requiring the application of law to fact. This amendment should render obsolete any contrary suggestion that may be drawn from Brooks v. United Uniform Co., 682 S.W.2d. 913 (Tenn. 1984).


Any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. Subject to the provisions of Rule 16 governing amendment of a pre-trial order, the court may permit withdrawal or amendment 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 that party in maintaining the action or defense on the merits. Any admission made by a party under this rule is for the purpose of the pending action only and is not an admission by that party for any other purpose nor may it be used against that party in any other proceeding. [As amended July 1, 1979.]

Advisory Commission Comments. Rule 36.01 permits the plaintiff to serve requests for admissions upon the defendant with or after service of the summons and complaint. The rule fixes the time within which responses or objections must be served. The rule also imposes upon a party the duty to make a reasonable inquiry in an effort to ascertain the answer to a request for admissions. [1979.]

One Comment
  1. elisa permalink

    Is a Plaintiff allowed to serve additional request for admissions during the pendency of a case? Specifically two years after Complaint and 1st Admissions were served and answered? Thank you for taking the time to develop this site is wonderful

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