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What is summary judgment?
Summary judgment adjudicates suits in which facts are not disputed. Rule 56
What is the key provision of the rule that governs summary judgment?
Rule 56(a) provides that summary judgment reaches both the legal and factual merits of the case.
Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment - 56(a)
A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which summary judgment is sought.
If the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute to any material fact, the court will grant summary judgment and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Court should state on the record its reasons for granting or denying.
Summary Judgment: Time to File a Motion
Unless a different time is set by local rule or the court orders otherhwise, a party may file a motion for summary judgment at any time until 30 days after the close of all discovery.
Summary Judgment: Procedures: Supporting Factual Positions
- A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
- (A) citing to certain parts of materials in the record (including depositions, documents, electronically stored info, affidavits/declarations, stipulations, admissions, ROG answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Summary Judgment: Procedures: Objections that a Fact is Not Supported by Admissible Evidence
A party may object that the material cited to support or dispute a fact can't be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.
Summary Judgment: Procedures: Materials Not Cited
The court only has to consider the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record
Summary Judgment: Procedures: Affidavits or Declarations 56(c)(4)
An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must
- (1) on personal knowledge,
- (2)set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and
- (3) show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.
Summary Judgment: When Facts Are Unavailable to the Nonmovant 56(d)
If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified
reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:
- (1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
- (2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or
- (3) issue any other appropriate order.
If a party fails to properly support an assertion to fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may:
- (1) Give an opportunity to properly support or address the fact;
- (2) Consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion;
- (3) Grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials (including the facts considered undisputed) show that the movant is entitled to it; or
- (4) Issue any other appropriate order.
Summary Judgment: Judgment Independent of the Motion
After giving notice and a reasonable time to respond, the court may?
- (1) Grant summary judgment for a nonmovant;
- (2) Grant the motion on grounds not raised by a party; or
- (3) Consider summary judgment on its own after identifying for the parties material facts that may not be genuinely in dispute.
Summary Judgment: Failing to Grant All the Requested Relief
If the court does not grant all the relief requested by the motion,
it may enter an order stating any material fact (including an item of damages or other relief) that is not genuinely in dispute and treating the fact as established in the case.
If satisfied that an affidavit or declaration under this rule is submitted in bad faith or solely for delay, the court, after notice and reasonable time to respond:
May order the submitting party to pay the other party reasonable expenses including attorney's fees it incurred as a result
An offending party or attorney may also be held in contempt or subjected to other appropriate sanctions.
F: The Defendant, Matsushita Industrial Co. (Defendant), was the subject of two sets of lawsuits filed on behalf of MCA shareholders after Defendant acquired MCA. Both suits consisted primarily of class actions, one involving federal claims, the other involving state claims. After a settlement was reached in state court releasing all claims against Defendant, Defendant moved to dismiss the federal claim on grounds that full faith and credit mandates that the federal court acknowledge the state court settlement releasing all claims against Defendant.
Holding: A federal court may not withhold full faith and credit from a state court judgment approving a class action settlement, even though the settlement releases claims within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts.
Kalinauskas (Caesar's Palace)
F: A casino being sued for sexual discrimination by a former employee sought to avoid the deposition of another former employee with whom the casino had previously settled a sexual discrimination suit.
Holding: In order to avoid repetitive discovery, courts may modify protective orders or settlement agreements to allow for the discovery of facts otherwise held confidential under the agreement.
F: The guarantor of hospital debt sought to set aside a default judgment on the grounds that service was a nullity under state law due to delay; but the state court - in spite of the defective service - required the guarantor to show he had a meritorious defense before the setting aside the judgment.
H: Where a person has been deprived in a manner inconsistent with due process, it is no answer to say that due process would have led to the same result b/c he had no defense on the merits.
The due process clause imposes limits on court's ability