October 9, 2008
Problems with Proposed Rule 56?
Prof. Adam Steinman recently posted An Ounce of Prevention: Solving Some Unforeseen Problems with the Proposed Amendments to Rule 56 and the Federal Summary Judgment Process. The abstract follows:
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 important improvements to the summary-judgment process.