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Zombeck v. Amada Co. Ltd

March 22, 2007

CHARLES D. ZOMBECK, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMADA CO. LTD, A CORPORATION, AND AMADA AMERICA, INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alan N. Bloch United States District Judge

ORDER

AND NOW, this 22nd day of March, 2007, upon consideration of Plaintiff Charles Zombeck, Jr.'s "Motion Pursuant to Fed. R.C.P. Rule 37(c) to Determine the Sufficiency of Defendant Amada America, Inc.'s Answers to Plaintiff's Requests for Admissions" (document No. 21) filed in the above-captioned matter on March 2, 2007, and upon further consideration of Defendant Amada America, Inc.'s Response thereto,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that said Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, to wit:

1. Said Motion is GRANTED to the extent that the Court finds that Defendant Amada America, Inc.'s responses to request for admission Nos. 7, 8, and 11 were insufficient. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a), the Court orders that Amada serve amended answers to these requests no later than April 6, 2007; and

2. Said Motion is DENIED in all other respects.

Plaintiff argues, in his motion, that the answers provided by Defendant Amada America, Inc. ("Amada") to request Nos. 7, 8, 9, and 11 are evasive and incomplete. He further argues that the answers "are not adequate, verified denials, nor are they adequate explanations of Defendant Amada's inability to admit or deny in accordance with Fed. R.C.P. Rule 37(c)." The Court agrees with Plaintiff as to request Nos. 7, 8, and 11, but disagrees as to request No. 9.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a) provides that an answer to a written request for admission "shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter." Rule 36(a) further provides:

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.

While Amada's response to request No. 9 adhered to this criteria, its responses to request Nos. 7, 8, and 11 did not.

Request No. 9 asked Amada to admit that "[t]he subject Amada HDS 1303 NT hydraulic press brake and/or its components which is the subject of this litigation was not equipped with an ISB Programmable Light Curtain Guard." While Amada set forth numerous objections,*fn1 it also responded:

Without waiving its objections to this request for admission, however, Amada admits that this option was not on the subject press brake. By way of further response, Amada refers plaintiff to the pleadings filed, documents produced, depositions taken and its discovery replies in this litigation.

Essentially, then, Amada was asked to admit that the subject press brake was not equipped with a certain part. Amada admitted that this part was not on the subject press brake. To the extent there is a difference between the press brake "not [being] equipped with" the part and the part not being "on" the press brake, Plaintiff has failed to explain this difference. It appears, then, that Amada's response met the substance of request No. 9.

This is not true, however, of the other responses at issue. Request Nos. 7 and 8 are, for purposes of this motion, essentially the same, requesting Amada to admit that "[a]n ISB Programmable Light Curtain Guard is Amada America, Inc.'s unique safety solution for the subject Amada HDS 1303 NT hydraulic press brake and/or its components."*fn2 Amada objected to both requests, and its response to each request was the same:

Without waiving its objections to this request, however, Amada admits that a portion of this request for admission is accurately quoted by plaintiff from a small portion of certain product literature, which speaks for itself and says what it says. By way of further response, Amada refers Plaintiff to the pleadings filed, ...


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