United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jonathan L. R. Drewes, Drewes Law, PLLC, (for Plaintiff); and
Barbakoff, Maurice Wutscher LLP, and Melissa L.B. Porter,
Shapiro and Zielke, LLP, (for Defendants).
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Withdraw Admissions. (ECF No. 18) and the Joint Motion to
Amend Scheduling Order (ECF No. 29). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court will grant both motions.
September 19, 2018, Plaintiff Jeffrey Metzger filed suit
against Defendants Seterus, Inc. and Federal National
Mortgage Association, alleging violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act as well as Minnesota state law
related to foreclosure advice and redemption rights notices.
(ECF No. 1). On March 6, 2019, Metzger served two requests
for admissions on Defendants. (ECF No. 20, p. 10). Because
Defendants failed to “calendar the response
deadline” regarding those requests, they did not
respond to them timely. (ECF No. 20, p. 2). As a result,
Metzger's requests for admission have been deemed
admitted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
realizing their error, Defendants contacted Metzger and asked
for a brief extension to respond to the requests for
admissions. (ECF No. 20, p. 2). Metzger informed Defendants
that he would not consent to the requested extension, but
would reconsider once he reviewed certain documents that
Defendants would be providing. (ECF No. 20, p. 2). Defendants
produced the documents on April 26, 2019. (ECF No. 20, p. 2).
after making their document production, Defendants contacted
Metzger and again asked for an extension of time to respond
to the requests for admission. (ECF No. 20, p. 2). Metzger
again asked Defendants to wait until he reviewed the document
production before filing any motions. (ECF No. 20, p. 2-3).
In a follow-up e-mail dated May 1, 2019, Metzger's
attorney indicated that “[t]his is a busy time for
me” and that it made sense for Defendants not to file
any motions until the parties could discuss settlement. (ECF
No. 20, p. 3).
23, 2019, following settlement discussions, Defendants sent
Metzger an offer that would resolve the case. (ECF No. 20, p.
3). Metzger did not respond to that offer until June 21,
2019. (ECF No. 20, p. 4). Settlement negotiations ultimately
proved to be unsuccessful.
moved to withdraw their responses to Metzger's requests
for admissions. Metzger responded to the motion on August 6,
2019. The parties then filed a joint motion to amend the
Pretrial Scheduling Order, seeking to extend the fact
discovery deadline from September 1, 2019 to December 20,
2019. Having reviewed both motions, the Court has chosen to
strike the hearing and decide the matter on the papers.
Court will begin with Defendants' motion to withdraw. The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit parties to serve
written requests for admission on any other party, provided
the request is within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1). A party has 30 days to respond to a
request for admission. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3). Requests not
answered during that time are deemed admitted, unless a
longer time is stipulated to by the parties or ordered by the
Court. Id. Matters deemed admitted are
“conclusively established” unless the Court
permits the admitting party to withdraw or amend their
admission. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(b). The Court must permit a party
to withdraw or amend an admission if doing so would
“promote the presentation of the merits of the
action” and would not cause prejudice to the requesting
motion can be easily resolved. Indeed, in the majority of
cases, motions like these usually are resolved by agreement
of parties with no Court involvement. Allowing Defendants to
withdraw their admissions will facilitate a proper decision
on the merits and will not cause any prejudice to Metzger.
The extension of the fact discovery deadline, as discussed
below, will ensure Metzger has ample time to review the
impact the withdrawal of these admissions will have on his
case and to pursue any discovery he requires in light of this
change in circumstances.
Metzger has provided no compelling reason why this motion
should be denied. He claims only that Defendants have
exhibited a “continual” disregard for this
Court's rules and that certain documents produced in
discovery show that the admissions are appropriate.
Undoubtedly, Defendants should have conducted themselves more
diligently with regards to Metzger's requests for
admissions. But to deny their motion on those grounds would
be tantamount to the Court imposing a sanction designating