March 02, 2017 Articles

How to Prepare a Winning Motion for Summary Judgment

Five simple rules to follow.

By Eric N. Macey

Summary judgment can be an effective procedural device to limit the scope of a lawsuit. If successful, numerous outcomes are possible:

  • You can prevail on liability and damages on your entire case.
  • You can prevail on just liability or just damages.
  • In a multicount suit, you can prevail on one or more of the counts.
  • Even if you do not prevail on anything, you may be able to get the judge to deem certain facts uncontested for purposes of the case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(g).

Motions for summary judgment, though, are very labor intensive and, thus, expensive. Consequently, it is incumbent upon counsel to think through how best to approach preparing a motion. Below are some suggestions.

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