Understanding a monotonous topic can be trying the best of times. And if technical jargon can send our head spinning when we come across it and try to process it, then legal jargon takes a pretty high position in the list of things hard to understand.
It is vital that the rules need to be understood, and their purposes, notions, and motions along with them and the know-how of applying them. This article would be a glimpse into Rule 56 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.
Understanding the broader meaning of the Rule 56 FRCP
If the applicant demonstrates that there is no genuine dispute over any substantial fact and that they are entitled to judgement as a matter of law, the court shall issue a summary judgement.
A party may petition for summary judgement, setting forth each claim or defence sought to be dismissed as well as the specific part of each claim or defense. If the applicant demonstrates that there is no genuine dispute over any substantial fact and that they are entitled to judgement as a matter of law, the court shall issue summary judgement. The reasons for granting or rejecting the motion should be recorded by the court.
The Federal Rules’ creators envisioned summary judgement as a balance to more lenient pleading standards. The aim was that the Rules would make it relatively easy to begin a case and that, through discovery, the parties would discuss and gather all the crucial information pertinent to the case. Summary judgement enables the judge to dismiss meritless claims prior to trial if all or part of an action is without merit.
Defendants and plaintiffs can both seek for summary judgement.
According to Rule 56, the court must grant the moving party’s request for judgement if “there is no genuine dispute as to any substantial fact and the movant is entitled to judgement as a matter of law.” There is no need for a trial, which would take time and money, if the law and the facts so obviously favor one party. Before a trial, the judge may decide in favor of one party.
Selected Committee Notes of Rule 56
Normally, motions for summary judgement are made after discovery is finished. All parties involved should have disclosed the case’s facts at that moment. The moving party will lay out what it considers to be the undisputed facts of the case and explain why, in light of those circumstances, the law obviously favors the moving party.
A party opposing a motion for summary judgement must show that there are relevant (sufficiently significant) questions of fact such that the motion should not be granted. The non-moving party will make the case that the jury should be permitted to hear the case and reach a verdict on factual questions in dispute.
The non-moving party may contend that the law does not support them. In reality, once one party applies for summary judgement, the answering party may likewise do the same, claiming that the evidence and the law unquestionably support the court’s decision in its favor.
Rule 56 Procedure
- Backing up Factual Positions A party who asserts that a fact cannot be disputed or is genuinely contested must provide evidence to support the assertion by (A) citing specific portions of the record’s materials, such as depositions, documents, electronically stored data, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made solely for the purpose of the motion), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) demonstrating that the stated materials do not indicate the existence or absence of a real dispute or that the opposing party is unable to offer evidence that is admissible to support the claim.
- Objection That No Acceptable Evidence Supports a Fact. It is possible for a party to raise an objection that the evidence referenced to affirm or refute a fact cannot be presented in a way that would be acceptable as testimony.
- Uncited Materials Only the listed items must be taken into account; however, the court may also look at other materials in the record.
- Declarations or Affidavits. Affidavits and declarations used to support or oppose a motion must be based on personal knowledge, contain information that could be used as evidence, and demonstrate the maker’s suitability to testify on the subject matter.
Selected Committee Notes of Rule 56
To make the procedures for presenting and deciding summary judgement motions better and more consistent with those previously employed in many courts, Rule 56 is amended. The criteria for issuing a summary decision remain the same. In accordance with subsection (a), the movant must be entitled to judgement as a matter of law and there must be no real dispute over any significant fact. The further evolution of the decisional law interpreting and using these expressions will not be impacted by the modifications.
Subdivision (b) The time clauses in the previous subdivisions (a) and (c) have been replaced. Despite the fact that the rule permits a petition for summary judgement to be brought at the beginning of an action, the motion is frequently premature until the nonmovant has had a chance to file a relevant pleading or additional pretrial proceedings have taken place. Timing can be regulated to meet the demands of the case by scheduling orders or other pretrial procedures.
Subdivision (c) New is subdivision (c). It sets a standard method for various summary judgement motion components that were formed from similar parts found in local rules or produced in cases.
Subdivision (d) The provisions of the former subdivision are carried over into subdivision (d) without significant alteration (f). A party who requests relief under subsection (d) may ask for a court order postponing the deadline for responding to the petition for summary judgement.
Subdivision (e) In accordance with Rule 56, problems that arise when a party fails to provide evidence to support a claim of fact or fails to adequately respond to another party’s claim of fact are addressed in subdivision (e) (c).
On what grounds can a Rule 56 motion be filed?
At least 10 days before the scheduled hearing period, the motion must be served. Affidavits in opposition may be served by the opposing party before the hearing. If the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and responses to requests for admission under Rule 36, along with any affidavits, demonstrate that there is no genuine dispute regarding any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgement as a matter of law, the requested judgement will be granted immediately. Even though there is a legitimate disagreement over the precise amount of damages, a summary judgement with an interlocutory nature may be granted on the question of liability alone. When appropriate, a summary judgement can be given to the moving party’s detriment.