Summary Judgment Motions
Counsel are reminded that a motion for summary judgment, if denied, imposes additional, avoidable cost on the client. See George v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 378 F. Supp. 2d 870 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Before a motion for summary judgment is due, the court will set a status hearing to inquire whether the case is truly appropriate for summary disposition. At that status hearing, the parties, having exchanged offer and demand letters, shall be prepared to report on the possibility of settlement. If settlement is not reached or reachable, the movant shall be prepared to identify the legal issues on which judgment as a matter of law would rest, the essential undisputed facts, and the reasoning why these facts entitle the movant to judgment. Where summary disposition appears unlikely, counsel will be asked what advantage is gained by proceeding under Rule 56 as opposed to Rule 50(a). See George, 378 F. Supp. 2d at 871 ("[D]efense counsel lose nothing by going to trial: If they are right in viewing their client’s position as a slam dunk, they can prevail via Rule 50(a) motion at the close of plaintiff’s case . . . ."), and they should have a response that is grounded in the economics from the viewpoint of the movant’s client. The parties should expect to be referred to a magistrate judge for settlement discussions before filing a motion for summary judgment.
The court disfavors motions to strike that routinely accompany summary judgment briefs. Motions to strike needlessly complicate and prolong the summary judgment process. If a responding party believes a statement of fact, document or other item submitted in connection with a motion for summary judgment is inadmissible, the party shall object within the Local Rule 56.1 statement and may briefly so argue within the response brief or reply brief.