United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
DR. SUSAN M. KEGERISE, Plaintiff
SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al. Defendants
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge.
before us is Plaintiff's motion to allow her to withdraw
her admissions to Defendants' requests for admission and
to allow her to file amended answers. Plaintiff is Dr. Susan
M. Kegerise. The defendants are the Susquehanna Township
School District and three members of the District's
School Board, Carol L. Karl, Jesse Rawls, Sr., and Mark Y.
Sussman. Plaintiff is suing for her allegedly improper
discharge as the District's superintendent.
parties dispute whether Plaintiff served Defendants with
timely answers to the requests. She says she did, and
Defendants disagree. In her pending motion, Plaintiff
suggests we can ignore this factual dispute and, assuming she
did not serve timely answers, simply decide whether, in any
event, Plaintiff should be allowed at this time to file
answers to the requests. Although she insists she did serve
timely answers, Plaintiff invites us to take this course as
one way of resolving the dispute over the requests for
agree with Plaintiff that we need not decide the factual
dispute over whether she served timely answers to the
requests. Even if she did not, we can exercise our discretion
to grant her request that she be allowed to file answers now.
April 30, 2016, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a), Defendants served
on Plaintiff twenty-seven requests for admission. Plaintiff
had thirty days to respond to the requests or the matters
they asserted would be deemed admitted. Fed.R.Civ.P.
36(a)(3). At the time the requests were served, the discovery
deadline was May 31, 2016; the deadline for filing pretrial
motions was August 26, 2016; and trial was set for November
2016. (Doc. 57, scheduling order). The discovery deadline was
later extended to July 18, 2016. (Doc. 107).
August 26, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment. Their statement of material facts in support of the
motion relied on the requests for admission, asserting that
Plaintiff had failed to timely respond or object to the
requests and that they were therefore deemed admitted under
that day, Plaintiff's counsel sent Defendants'
counsel an e-mail stating that he had just read the statement
of material facts and it was the first time he was aware that
defense counsel had not received Plaintiff's answers to
the requests. Writing “Here they are again, ”
Plaintiff's counsel set forth in the e-mail answers to
the requests. Counsel also requested that defense counsel
withdraw the statement of material facts. (Doc. 115-3,
Pl.'s Ex. C).
motion to withdraw the admissions, filed on September 2,
2016, Plaintiff represents that her counsel sent her answers
to defense counsel on May 23, 2016, in an envelope in which
he also sent other discovery material. (Doc. 115, Mot. to
withdraw admissions ¶ 3). Defendants maintain that,
while they did receive the other discovery material, the
answers were never sent on May 23, 2016. (Doc. 119,
Defs.' answer to Pl.'s motion). Instead,
Plaintiff's first answers to the requests were by way of
the August 26, 2016, e-mail.
order of October 12, 2016, the case was removed from the
November 2016 trial list, to be rescheduled after resolution
of pending motions, including Defendants' motion for
summary judgment and the current motion to withdraw
admissions. Thereafter, the parties engaged in mediation,
which was unsuccessful. (Doc. 137, report of the magistrate
judge, dated February 27, 2017).
pertinent part, Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1)(A) permits a party to
“serve on any other party a written request to admit .
. . the truth of any matters . . . relating to . . . facts,
the application of law to fact, or opinions about either . .
. .” The request is deemed admitted unless within
thirty days after being served with the request, the opposing
party serves the requesting party with a written answer or
objection. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3).
may file a motion to withdraw an admission or to amend it.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(b). “[T]he court may permit withdrawal
or amendment if it would promote the presentation of the
merits of the action and if the court is not persuaded that
it would prejudice the requesting party in maintaining or
defending the action on the merits.” Id.
“Courts may consider other factors as well, such as
whether the moving party can show good cause for the delay,
see Conlon v. United States,474 F.3d 616, 625 (9th