Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
Discovery requests and discovery responses can be served by regular First Class Mail; no need to use certified mail. Because the requests were served on you by regular mail, your response is due no later than 35 days after the date requests were mailed to you. If you do not timely serve your response (including any applicable objections), your objections will be waived, and asking party can seek order to have statements deemed admitted and seek sanctions against you. I am not certain if the Legal Aid Foundation assists with these matters, but it may be worth your while to ask them. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.
Have you thought about alternative options? You never stated if you actually owe this debt or not, and by no means am I suggesting for you to respond to that question publically. However, if you owe sufficient debt where a collection agency is suing you, it safe to assume other creditors will soon follow. You should consult competent consumer attorney regarding bankruptcy or debt settlement, instead of trying to defend this case on your own.
As to your question, it is not required for them to serve you via certified mail. If you want more info on how to respond to Request for Admission I suggest for you to look at CCP (California Code of Civil Procedures) Section 2033.010 thru 2033.420.
You need to respond within 30 days after the Request for Admissions were served (or 35 if mailed to you).
In responding to Requests for Admissions in California, the typical responses are one of the following:
3) Responding Party lacks information or knowledge to admit or deny this request. Responding Party made a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the request; however, the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable Responding Party to admit or deny this matter.
Weil & Brown's Practice Guide on Civil Procedure Before Trial offers the following:
[8:1332.1] Must be unequivocal: A denial of all or any portion of the request must be unequivocal. [See American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees v. Metropolitan Water Dist. of Southern Calif. (2005) 126 CA4th 247, 268, 24 CR3d 285, 300 (citing text)]
(Cal. Practice Guide, Civil Procedure Before Trial, Ch. 8G-5. )
This is based on the language of Code of Civil Procedure § 2033.220:
(a) Each answer in a response to requests for admission shall be as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably available to the responding party permits.
The responses must be verified under penalty of perjury. However, if the responses only contain objections (i.e., no factual assertions made by the party), verification is unnecessary. (Food4Less Supermarkets, Inc. vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles (1995) 40 Cal. App. 4th 651, 656.)
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.