United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Williams
Scotman's motion to compel. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
a slip and fall case. Plaintiff alleges he fell down at in a
mobile office unit in Lincolnville, South Carolina, owned by
Defendants, because the wooden floorboards had rotted. In
1997, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to strong arm robbery of a
Winn-Dixie supermarket. He was sentenced to ten years
imprisonment, and actually served about four years. Plaintiff
was deposed in this matter on January 24, 2018. He gave
testimony regarding the circumstances of his guilty plea in
1997. Defendants doubt the veracity of his testimony, and
subpoenaed records from the South Carolina Department of
Corrections and from the Charleston Police Department.
Defendants view the contents of those records as inconsistent
with Plaintiff s deposition testimony. Essentially, Plaintiff
testified that he entered the Winn-Dixie to rob an ATM inside
the store, but records appear to indicate that Plaintiff tied
up the manager, took his keys, and robbed the store.
Defendants served requests to admit regarding those records,
with an interlocking interrogatory to explain the basis for
any denial and request to produce any documents related to a
denial. Defendants view Plaintiffs responses as inadequate
and Defendant Williams Scotsman has filed the present motion
to compel an adequate response.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, "A
party may serve on any other party a written request to
admit, for purposes of the pending action only, the truth of
any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1) relating to:
(A) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about
either; and (B) the genuineness of any described
documents." Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1). Rules 36(a)(4) and
(5) provide as follows:
(4) Answer. If a matter is not admitted, the answer must
specifically deny it or state in detail why the answering
party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A denial must
fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good
faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a
part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted
and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party may assert
lack of knowledge or information as a reason for failing to
admit or deny only if the party states that it has made
reasonably inquiry and that the information it knows or can
readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or deny.
(5) Objections. The grounds for objecting to a request must
be stated. A party must not object solely on the ground that
the request presents a genuine issue for trial.
Additionally, Rule 36(a)(6) allows a party who has served a
request for admission to move the court "to determine
the sufficiency of an answer or objection. Unless the court
finds an objection justified, it must order that an answer be
party declines to answer an interrogatory or request for
production, the serving party "may move for an order
compelling an answer, designation, production, or
inspection." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). An evasive or
incomplete disclosure, answer, or response, "must be
treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). "The scope and conduct of
discovery are within the sound discretion of the district
court." Columbus-Am. Discovery Grp. v. Atl. Mut.
Ins. Co., 56 F.3d 556, 568 n.16 (4th Cir. 1995).
moves the Court to address the sufficiency of the Plaintiffs
responses to requests to admit numbers 7 (a-f), 9, 10, 11, 13
(a-f), 15, 16, 17 and 18.
Request to admit number 7 (a-f)
was asked to admit that certain South Carolina Department of
Corrections ("SCDC") records: (a) are a true and
authentic copy of South Carolina Department of Correction
records created for the incarceration of Plaintiff; (b) were
made and kept in the ordinary course and scope of the
SCDC's regular course of activity and/or the
administration of criminal justice; (c) pertain to acts,
events, observations, and discussions made at or near the
time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with
knowledge in the course of a regularly conducted activity
and/or the administration of criminal justice; (d) are
records generated by public officials and contain information
the public officials had a duty to report; (e) are records
generated by public officials and ...