How to Answer Admissions of Debt

After you have just about recovered from answering your Summons and Complaint, the next phase in your Credit Card lawsuit begins: The Discovery Process.

This is where both parties attempt to gather as much information about the case and the other party in preparation for trial. As part of this process you may receive a Request for Admissions of Debt which consists of short, written, true or false statements. The official justification for this is to allow the parties to clarify the important issues in the case and the burdens of proof associated with them. This is a vital part of the process and if answered incorrectly or inadequately, could leave you with an uphill climb ahead of you.

Of course, if the plaintiff persuades you to admit the debt or any association to it, the burden of proof shifts from them; you have admitted the debt and therefore the creditor or Junk debt Buyer no longer needs to prove it. This, obviously, would be a dream come true for them.

It is, therefore, crucial to get good advice and research well.


Limitations

It is interesting to note that some States impose limits to how many admissions a party can request of the opposing party. Make sure that the plaintiff in your case has taken note of these limitations if applicable where you live.

There may be other imposed requirements or limitations regarding the way admissions of debt can be request or the way in which the response needs to be formulated. Be sure to verify this by consulting your local rules.


Answer the Request

Answering the request is basic yet fundamental if you want to make things easy for yourself in this lawsuit. You cannot ignore a request in the discovery process without dire consequences. Your failure to respond to the admissions request will result in all allegations being deemed admitted. By not positively denying the statements, the defendant is deemed to have admitted all statements.

Depending on what those statements say, you could have admitted to opening accounts with a Credit Card company, accruing debt of inflated amounts, defaulting on payments and failing to reach a settlement.

Remember, that even if some or all of these statements are true, you do not know that the plaintiff can prove any of it. Do not make it easy for them; answer your Request for Admissions.


Answer Promptly

It is also noteworthy that there is a deadline to filing your answer to Request for Admissions of Debt. If the request itself does not specify how long you have, confirm this with your local court rules. Customarily, you will have 20-30 days to prepare and respond to the request.

Again, it is vital that you meet the deadline as failure to do so will result in the plaintiff filing a Motion to Deem Admissions Admitted. As previously stated, this would be extremely detrimental.


Your Response

The law has a clear framework of how to respond to any kind of Request for Admissions and it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the guidelines and approach formulating your response accordingly. Your local court rules will explain what is required and permissible.

When drafting your response, it is important to focus on the actual wording. You cannot simply write ‘true’ or ‘false’ or even ‘lack of information’ as these do not conform to legal requirements and this could lead to the plaintiff filing a Motion to have Admissions Deemed Admitted due to use of inappropriate wording. Refer to your court’s rules under the heading ‘Admissions and Interrogatories’ to verify the exact wording required.

Typically, you will need to respond using ‘admit’ or ‘deny’. If you are unable to categorically admit or deny the statement, you need to explain in detail the reasons why you cannot admit or deny it. Similar is true if you wish to respond with ‘lack of knowledge’. Normally this is not an adequate response unless the responding party explains that an effort was made to acquire the information but that the information acquired or known is not enough to be able to admit or deny.

For example, if you had no contract with creditor mentioned, you haven’t seen one nor recall one and you haven’t seen an Assignment of Debt either, you could respond with something similar to the answer below:

“Defendant states that after a reasonable inquiry, the information known or readily obtainable by him is insufficient to enable him to admit or deny this request”.


Objections to Requests

If you feel that a privilege has been violated in any way, there is opportunity to raise an objection as part of your answer to a Request for Admissions of Debt. These objections are usually based on a legal objection. There are many reasons why a request would be objectionable. For example, if a statement is so vague or confusing that the responding party cannot give a straight forward response, an objection could be raised. These might be seen as trick questions and you need to watch out for them.

For instance, a Request for Admission might that states:

‘As of January 2008, the defendant ceased payments’ might be objectionable because the defendant never made any payments on this account.

Both an ‘admit’ (‘Yes I stopped making payments’) or ‘deny’ (No, I continued making payments) imply that the defendant made payments on the account in question.


Organize Your Response

Type your response to the Request for Admission clearly and neatly. If you have any documents that substantiate your answers, refer to these within your response by identifying them with a clear system (for example “Attached hereto as Exhibit 1A”). However, do not send original documents but make copies instead.

Make copies of your full response, keeping a copy for your personal records and forward a second copy to the plaintiff. It is a good idea to send everything by certified mail and that you keep receipts and proof of postage and delivery.

For more help responding to a Request for Admissions of Debt find out more about The Defendant’s Package.