Federal Bar Update: Avoid multiple summary judgment motions

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Federal Bar UpdateThe Southern District of Indiana has amended its Uniform Case Management Plan to include the following language regarding summary judgment motions:

Absent leave of court, and for good cause shown, all issues raised on summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 must be raised by a party in a single motion.

(emphasis in original).

This new language derives from concern that some litigants were filing multiple summary judgment motions to bypass the court’s 35-page limit for summary judgment briefs. The new language from the Uniform Case Management Plan recognizes that there can be good cause for more than one summary judgment motion. However, leave of court is now necessary.

For instance, an early issue in a case that benefits from a prompt summary judgment motion – such as statute of limitations – would ordinarily seem to be a good candidate for a separate, early summary judgment motion. If denied, then a later summary judgment motion on the merits should still be available, subject, of course, to court approval upon a showing of good cause.

Notably, nothing in Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 precludes separate motions, and this rule as amended now expressly contemplates summary judgment motions on claims or defenses or any part of a claim or defense. The District Court, however, of course retains discretion over how and when motions are presented.

It will be prudent for practitioners to consider and address such issues in the case management plan and at the initial conference with the court. And, unless blessed in the case management plan, leave of court and good cause are now required for multiple summary judgment motions. The court’s 35-page limit is generous in comparison to many other courts, and filing multiple motions to bypass that limit is no longer available (and of course was likely never well received).

Uniform Patent Case Management Plans – The Southern District has amended its Uniform Patent Case Management Plans, with two different versions on its website. One version is not to be used in design patent cases or in cases assigned to Chief Judge Young, the other is for design patent cases or cases assigned to Chief Judge Young.

Mark Your Calendars- The Annual Federal Civil Practice Seminar will be held Friday, Dec. 16, in Indianapolis, starting at 1:30 p.m. Three hours CLE will be provided.•


John Maley – – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, practicing federal and state litigation, employment matters, and appeals. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.