United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of
Defendants' Responses to Plaintiff's Fourth Request
for Admissions (Doc. 188) filed by pro se Plaintiff
Marco Damon Duncan (“Duncan”) (#37679-048).
Duncan is an inmate in the custody of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in
Defendants' response is partially deficient, Duncan's
Motion to Determine Sufficiency of Defendants' Answers to
Plaintiff's Fouth Request for Admissions (Doc. 188) is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
initiated this litigation pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Agents of the Federal Bureau of
Narcotics (Docs. 1, 16, 20) alleging that he was
subjected to excessive force when he was incarcerated at the
United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana.
the Motion was initially filed, Duncan had received no
responses to the fourth set of Requests for Admissions
(“RFA”). (Doc. 188). After receiving
Defendants' responses, Duncan filed a supplement to his
motion claiming that the responses to RFA 1 and RFA 2 are
evasive and non-responsive; the response to RFA 4 is false;
Defendants' objection to RFA 6 is improper and the
response inadequate; the responses to RFA 12-14 are improper
and non-responsive; and Defendants' objection to RFA 19
is improper and evasive. (Doc. 199).
Law and Analysis
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows parties to
request admissions regarding the truth of any matters within
the scope of Rule 26(b)(1), including ultimate facts, as well
as applications of law to fact, or opinions about either.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 36; see also In re Carney, 258 F.3d
415, 419 (5th Cir. 2001). The scope of Rule 36 “allows
litigants to winnow down issues prior to trial and thus focus
their energy and resources on disputed matters.” In
re Carney, 258 F.3d at 419. However, Rule 36 does not
provide for requests for admission regarding pure legal
conclusions. Id. (citing Playboy Enterprises,
Inc. v. Welles, 60 F.Supp.2d 1050, 1057 (S.D. Cal. 1999)
(“Requests for admissions cannot be used to compel an
admission of a conclusion of law.”)).
responding to requests for admission, a party must
“specifically deny [them] or state in detail why the
answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(4). “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.” Id. “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 reasonable inquiry and that the information it knows
or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit
or deny.” Id.
RFA 1 states:
Please admit that there was a surveillance camera located
directly above, and within 12 feet of the physical
altercation that occurred inside of the B-12 Housing unit at
USP-Pollock (USP-P) on January 13, 2017.
Response to RFA 1 states:
Denied. Any camera that is against a wall captures images
away from the wall.
(Doc. 199-1, p. 2).
RFA 2 states:
Please admit that video footage of the altercation mentioned
in the above Request for Admission (RFA) #1, which has been
provided to the plaintiff, was not a copy of footage of the
incident, taken from the video camera closest to the
Response to RFA 2 states:
Denied. The only camera that captured the incident was ...