SW Legal studies in Business

Evidence Admitted by Plaintiff in First Action That Was Dropped Are Not Relevant in Second Action
Description The Arkansas high court held that matters a plaintiff was deemed to have admitted in his first action against defendants, because of his failure to respond in a timely manner to requests for information, were not relevant when the plaintiff dropped the first action and then re-filed a second action against the same parties.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Evidence; Admissions; Subsequent Actions
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Norrell sued Dr. Giles and the insurance company of a hospital for medical malpractice. While the lawsuit was pending, defendants filed various requests for information relevant to the matter. When the plaintiff failed to respond to the requests, the trial court held that the requests were deemed to have been admitted. Norrell took a voluntary dismissal of the action. Within a year, he reinstated his suit against Giles and the insurance company. Giles and the insurance company were granted summary judgment based on the admissions that were made during the previous action. Norrell appealed.
Decision Reversed. When a party fails to answer requests for information in a timely manner, the requested matters are deemed admitted. A plaintiff has a right ro request a voluntary nonsuit, or dismissal, before the matter is resolved in court. The voluntary dismissal is without prejudice and is not an adjudication of the case on the merits, so the plaintiff has the right to file a new action after the dismissal of the first. Matters that were deemed admitted in the first action were of no effect in the second action. The second action is a new proceeding, so the earlier admissions are not relevant.
Citation Norrell v. Giles, 36 S.W.2d 342 (Sup. Ct., Ark., 2001)

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