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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.•

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John Maley – jmaley@btlaw.com – 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. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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