Lewis v. Nelson, 2015 UT App 262 (Oct. 29, 2015)

Plaintiff filed tier 1 claims for contract damages, limiting him to five requests for production, five requests for admission, and no interrogatories. Utah R. Civ. P. 26(c)(5). Plaintiff served 30 requests for admissions, 13 interrogatories, and 13 requests for discovery. On defendant’s objection, the trial Court ordered vaguely that he respond. Defendant answered the first five requests for production and admission. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the basis the remaining requests were admitted. The trial court granted summary judgment, explaining that defendant should have asked for clarification, not merely assumed his interpretation of the rule would govern. Defendant appealed. The court of appeals held that Rule 26 puts the burden on the requesting party to demonstrate a need for extraordinary discovery, even if the requests go without objection. Therefore, a failure to answer requests that exceed the discovery tier is not an automatic admission.