An Ounce of Prevention: Solving Some Unforeseen Problems with the Proposed Amendments to Rule 56 and the Federal Summary Judgment Process
13 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2008 Last revised: 18 Jul 2014
Date Written: November 24, 2008
The Civil Rules Advisory Committee has recently proposed the most significant revisions to Rule 56 since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were adopted seventy years ago. Although the stated goal of the proposed amendments is laudable - "to improve the procedures for making and opposing summary-judgment motions, and to facilitate the judge's work in resolving them" - this Essay in the Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy identifies some unanticipated problems with the proposed text. Contrary to the Advisory Committee's intent, the proposed text may inadvertently make substantial changes to the summary-judgment standard and the burdens on litigants at the summary-judgment phase. This Essay suggests specific solutions that would eliminate the potentially troubling consequences of the new rule while preserving its improvements to the summary-judgment process.
Keywords: Summary Judgment, Rule 56, FRCP, Federal Rules, Civil Procedure, Advisory Committee, Proposed Amendment, Fed. R. Civ. P, Fed. R. Civ. P. 56
JEL Classification: K1, K40, K41, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation