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Responding to Georgia Requests to Admit

In Georgia, the earlier Civil Code previously required that responses to Requests to Admit, a Discovery tool in Civil practice, had to be sworn and under oath. In fact, the Courts had expressly decided that submitting unsworn responses had the same legal effect as making no answer at all (in essence, the Request is deemed to be admitted). However, this is no longer the law.

A response to a Request to Admit does not need to be under oath. The following is an excerpt from the 1979 Court of Appeals case of Cable Masters, Inc. v. Shaw, 151 Ga.App. 153, 259 S.E.2d 157:

The problem presented by this appeal is identical to the one considered by this court recently in the case of Hilton Hotels Corp. v. Withrow Travel etc., Inc., 150 Ga.App. 435, 258 S.E.2d 59. The trial court granted summary judgment to the appellee because the appellant's responses to certain requests for admissions were unsworn. Held :

The trial court's order, rendered some months before our decision in the Hilton Hotels case, supra, relied onBurge v. High, 147 Ga.App. 267, 248 S.E.2d 546 (1978). However, Hilton Hotels reversed Burge and held, in accordance with Code Ann. § 81A-136 (Ga.L.1966, pp. 609, 648, as amended through Ga.L.1972, pp. 510, 528), that responses to requests for admission need not be under oath. The responses in this case were thus properly made. [151 Ga.App. 154] Since they present material issues of fact for resolution at the trial level, the grant of summary judgment was in error.

Judgment reversed.

McMURRAY, P. J., and UNDERWOOD, J., concur.

The other issue which often arises for persons conducting civil litigation on their own is the legality of having an attorney respond to the Requests to Admit, instead of the party themselves giving the answers. Again, reference may be made to a case deciding this very issue, via the 1979 (a busy year for the Court as concerns Discovery issues) Court of Appeals case of Avco Financial Services Leasing Co. v. Mullins, 152 Ga.App. 120, 262 S.E.2d 266, the Court upheld this practice.

[152 Ga.App. 121] Sam Johnson, Jonesboro, for appellant.

Robert L. Collins, Jr., Calhoun, for appellee.

[152 Ga.App. 120] BIRDSONG, Judge.

This case is before us based upon the grant of an interlocutory appeal. Appellant Avco Financial Services Leasing Co. has urged two grounds as the basis of its motion. The first argues that it was error for the trial court to consider certain admissions filed in response to a request for admissions because the admissions were [152 Ga.App. 121] signed by counsel for the appellee Mullins rather than by Mullins himself. This argument is not meritorious inasmuch as admissions may be signed by either the party or his counsel. Hilton Hotels Corp. v. Withrow Travel Service, 150 Ga.App. 435, 258 S.E.2d 59.

The second ground urged by Avco is that it was error for the trial court to deny Avco's motion for summary judgment. In his fifth defensive answer, Mullins asserted the defense of fraud in that Avco was aware of a change in law that would render the leased equipment obsolete, failed to inform Mullins of that change, and in effect "unloaded" obsolete equipment on Mullins. This asserted defense of fraud has not been pierced in any way by Avco by its own amended pleadings or affidavits. It was not error for the trial court to deny Avco's motion for summary judgment where issues of fact remain for determination. Saunders v. Vikers, 116 Ga.App. 733, 734, 158 S.E.2d 324; Scales v. Peevey, 103 Ga.App. 42, 46, 118 S.E.2d 193.

In view of the foregoing, it is concluded that the grant by this court of the interlocutory appeal was improvident. The appeal is dismissed and the case returned to the trial court for disposition.

Appeal dismissed.

QUILLIAN, P. J., and SMITH, J., concur.