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WPI 6.10.02 Use of Admissions or Binding Stipulations Under CR 36(b)

6 WAPRAC WPI 6.10.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 6.10.02 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part I. General Instructions
Chapter 6. Oral Instructions During Trial
WPI 6.10.02 Use of Admissions or Binding Stipulations Under CR 36(b)
[The [plaintiff] [defendant] has admitted that certain facts are true.] [The parties have agreed that certain facts are true.] You must accept as true the following facts:
(The judge or attorney should read the admitted or agreed evidence.)
Select the appropriate bracketed phrase.
Use this oral instruction for any admission or other binding stipulation under CR 36(b). The instruction may be reworded to address an agreement of the parties that conclusively establishes evidence for the jury. For non-conclusive admissions or agreements, use WPI 6.10.01 (Stipulations).
This oral instruction is not intended to preclude the judge from exercising discretion as to whether the admission is sufficiently complex that it should also be given to the jury in writing, whether it is incorporated into the final set of written jury instructions or into an exhibit that could go back to the jury room. See the Comment for further discussion.
This instruction may be used when the parties have agreed to a binding stipulation, as well as for use when there is a binding admission.
CR 36(b) provides in part that “any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission.”
There are no Washington cases directly addressing whether a trial court is required to instruct a jury that admissions under CR 36(b) are conclusively established. However, Washington case law establishes that it may be reversible error for a jury to disregard facts that were conclusively established in answers to requests for admissions. See Nichols v. Lackie, 58 Wn.App. 904, 795 P.2d 722 (1990) (reversible error for the jury to award $2,217.65 in damages when damages of $3,774.97 were conclusively established by requests for admissions). Thus, the jury should be advised as to the effect of a CR 36 admission to avoid the possibility of reversible error.
The pattern instruction above is to be given orally. Depending on the facts in the case, it may be appropriate to also provide this information to the jury in writing, such as by incorporating the admission or binding stipulation into an exhibit, which could go back to the jury room during deliberations. If the admitted or stipulated facts relate directly to the elements of the cause of action, then the admitted or stipulated facts may be more properly addressed in the final set of written jury instructions.
For cases of admitted liability, the pattern instructions already recognize that the admission or stipulation needs to be reflected in the final set of written instructions. See WPI Chapter 23 (Admitted Liability). For a related discussion in the criminal context about the multiple options for informing jurors about binding stipulations and admissions, see the Comment to WPIC 4.77 (Stipulation as to Undisputed Facts or Elements of Offense).
[Current as of November 2020.]
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