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Publication Date

January 2010


This essay provides an overview of symposium articles on The Future of Summary Judgment, which were submitted in connection with the Section on Litigation’s program on summary judgment at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. Contributions to the symposium by Professors Edward Brunet, Stephen Burbank, Jeffrey Cooper, Steven Gensler, and Linda Mullenix, explore issues regarding (1) amendments to Federal Rule 56 that are set to take effect on December 1, 2010; (2) emerging safeguards to prevent improvident grant of summary judgment; (3) the potential of summary judgment to impact interrelated aspects of the pretrial process, including the 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss and class action litigation; and (4) the future of the federal standard for summary judgment in diversity cases. Although the articles explore a wide range of issues relating to summary judgment, a dominant subtext is the interplay between summary judgment and federal rulemaking, including the impact of federal rulemaking on summary judgment, the effect of the transsubstantive assumption of the Rules Enabling Act, and the limits of the substantive rights prohibition of the Rules Enabling Act.

This essay discusses also (1) how failure to amend Rule 56, absent consensus, leads to substantial variation in summary judgment practice in the federal courts because federal rulemakers respond to lack of consensus by abandoning proposed Rule change or by providing broad discretion to trial judges regarding normative decisions; and (2) how the justices’ views on the importance of uniform application of Federal Rules in diversity cases led to the splintered decisions in the Supreme Court’s recent Erie decision, Shady Grove Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Insurance Co.

Publication Title

Akron Law Review

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Litigation Commons