A request for admissions can be one of the most entertaining documents in a lawsuit. The requesting party, in so many words, is saying, “We all know the following statements are true, so why don’t you admit to them so we can haggle about something else?”
It can be a rare moment of clarity in a legal action, where one party is trying to cut through the many layers of BS and establish facts. That doesn’t mean the receiving party is going to admit to everything–or anything–in the request. But the effort to get at what one party considers to be the clear truth can be most enlightening.
From that standpoint, a request for admissions in a divorce case involving U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller certainly does not disappoint. Fuller is a George W. Bush appointee who is best known for presiding over the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy, the former CEO of HealthSouth Corporation.
Lisa Boyd Fuller is suing the judge for divorce. If even half of the items in her request for admissions are true, it’s a wonder Judge Fuller could even pay attention during the Siegelman case–much less rule correctly on key matters of law, with the freedom of two men at stake. (You can read the Fuller request for admissions at the end of this post.)
Lisa Fuller’s request is filled with sex, drugs, and violence–but no rock and roll (so far). The 18 items hint at a judge with a clouded mind, a nasty temperament, a lust for women other than his wife, and a monumental sense of entitlement.
The process for a request for admissions here in my state is governed by Rule 36 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. It’s one of my favorite rules because it essentially says, “Let’s dispense with all the posing and posturing and get on the record what we all know to be the case–that these statements are true.” A savvy defense lawyer, of course, can take steps to ensure that the truth is clouded–and Mark Fuller’s lawyer is likely to do just that. But you at least have to admire the thought behind Rule 36.
Here is how the committee comments to the Alabama rule sum things up:
The purpose of this rule is to expedite the trial and to relieve the parties of the cost of proving facts which will not be disputed at the trial and the truth of which can be ascertained by reasonable inquiry. The rule is self-sufficient, and clearly defines its purpose and limits its effect, and it should be liberally construed.
Lisa Fuller’s request for admissions can be broken down into four categories–and they are doozies. Let’s take a look:
1. Admit or deny that you have had an extramarital affair with a person or persons during the course of your marriage to the Plaintiff.
2. Admit or deny that you are continuing to have an extramarital affair.
3. Admit or deny that you have stayed overnight and had sexual intercourse with a person or persons other than your spouse during the course of your marriage.
4. Admit or deny that you have had sexual intercourse with a person or persons other than your spouse during the course of your marriage.
5. Admit or deny that you have admitted to your spouse that you have had sexual intercourse with a person or persons other than your spouse during the course of your marriage.
As you can see, Lisa Fuller and her attorney, Floyd Minor, are not pussyfooting around. On to category No. 2:
Driving Under the Influence
7. Admit or deny that you have driven a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol during the course of your marriage.
8. Admit or deny that you have driven a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and with one or more of your children in the vehicle as passengers, during the course of your marriage.
12. Admit or deny that you have cursed your spouse or directed abusive language to your spouse.
13. Admit or deny that you have hit, kicked, struck, or otherwise physically abused your spouse during the course of your marriage.
14. Admit or deny that you have hit, kicked, struck, or otherwise physically abused your children during the course of your marriage to Plaintiff.
16. Admit or deny that you are addicted to prescription medication.
Whew, that’s a lot to digest. What can we take from this? Mark Fuller might be called “Your Honor” within the four walls of his courtroom, but it doesn’t sound like he’s behaved in an honorable fashion during his marriage. And it certainly sounds like he has no business judging the actions of others.
Roger Shuler, a regular contributor to The Public Record, resides in Birmingham, Alabama. A 1978 graduate of the University of Missouri, Shuler worked 11 years as a reporter and editor for the Birmingham Post-Herald before working 19 years in several editorial positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He blogs at Legal Schnauzer.