Sudman v. O'Brien

Sudman v. O'Brien, 218 So.3d 986 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017), 2017 WL 1829479

This result in this decision should serve as a cautionary tale for all parties involved in litigation - the failure to properly respond to a request for admission will be treated as a deemed admission pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.370(a), which could completely alter the disposition of a case.  Here, the surviving spouse sought to take her elective share from her husband's estate.  The trustee of her husband's trust objected to her election, and served a request for admission on the wife asking her to admit that she executed a prenuptial agreement with the decedent prior to her marriage.  The wife did not respond.  As a result, the trial court held that the request was deemed admitted, and granted the trustee's objection to her election to take the elective share.

The Appellate Court upheld the trial court's decision.  It explained that Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.370(a) provides that a matter is admitted unless the party answers or objects within thirty days after service of the request, and any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission.  Because the wife did not ask to be relieved from her admissions and she failed to file any sworn allegations contrary to the admission, the Court held that it could not relieve her of the admission.

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