Under federal law, the standard for consideration of a motion for summary judgment is well known. Indeed, recently at a conference of federal bankruptcy judges, some judges expressed distaste for legal writing in briefs that reiterates familiar standards such as the one for summary judgment. While that position is somewhat understandable, I can remember my civil-procedure professor admonishing us to treat the federal rules like our bible and commit to reading those rules over and over again. Like great moral truths, the finer points of rules and standards can easily be forgotten or overlooked if they are not considered afresh each time you prepare a motion for summary judgment or respond to one. It is all too easy to fall into a habit of sloppiness where you fail to abide by those procedural niceties that a diligent lawyer on the other side may be able to exploit, particularly if the federal judge in question is a stickler for rules and procedure.
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