RULE 56. SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Effective Date: 3/1/1996

Obsolete Date: 3/1/1997

(a) For Claimant. A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory judgment may, at any time after the expiration of 20 days from the commencement of the action or after service of a motion for summary judgment by the adverse party, move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in the party's favor upon all or any part thereof.

(b) For Defending Party. A party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory judgment is sought may move, at any time, with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in the party's favor as to all or any part thereof.

(c) Motion and Proceedings Thereon. The motion and supporting papers must be served at least 14 days before the motion may be heard. Judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that any party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability alone although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of damages. Summary judgment, when appropriate, may be rendered against the moving party.

(d) Case Not Fully Adjudicated on Motion. If on motion under this rule judgment is not rendered upon the whole case or for all the relief asked and a trial is necessary, the court at the hearing of the motion, by examining the pleadings and the evidence before it and by interrogating counsel, shall if practicable ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy and what material facts are actually and in good faith controverted. It shall thereupon make an order specifying the facts that appear without substantial controversy, including the extent to which the amount of damages or other relief is not in controversy, and directing such further proceedings in the action as are just. Upon the trial of the action the facts so specified shall be deemed established, and the trial shall be conducted accordingly.

(e) Form of Affidavits-Further Testimony-Defense Required. Supporting and opposing affidavits must be made on personal knowledge, set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in an affidavit must be attached thereto or served therewith. The court may permit affidavits to be supplemented or opposed by depositions, answers to interrogatories, or further affidavits. If a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, but the adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If the adverse party does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, must be entered against the adverse party.

(f) When Affidavits Are Unavailable. Should it appear from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that the party cannot for reasons stated present by affidavit facts essential to justify the party's opposition, the court may refuse the application for judgment or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or depositions to be taken or discovery to be had or may make such other order as is just.

(g) Affidavits Made in Bad Faith. Should it appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are presented in bad faith or solely for the purpose of delay, the court shall forthwith order the party employing them to pay to the other party the amount of the reasonable expenses which the filing of the affidavits caused the other party to incur, including reasonable attorney's fees, and any offending party or attorney may be adjudged guilty of contempt.

Rule 56 was amended, effective March 1, 1990; March 1, 1996; March 1, 1997; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2019.

Paragraph (a)(1) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to move for summary judgment from 20 to 21 days after commencement of the action.

Subdivision (c) was amended, effective March 1, 2019, to establish a deadline for serving a motion, a deadline for a reply brief and length limits for principal, answer, and reply briefs.

Under subdivision (e) a party resisting a motion for summary judgment has the responsibility to draw the court's attention to the page and line of a deposition or other document containing the competent admissible evidence raising a material factual issue, or from which the trier of fact may draw an inference creating a material factual issue. First National Bank v. Clark, 332 N.W.2d 264 (N.D. 1983).

Rule 56 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.

SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of April 27, 2018, pages 4-6; January 25, 2018, pages 4-6; September 28, 2017, pages 17-19; April 29-30, 2010, page 15; September 24-25, 2009, pages 23-24; April 25, 1996, pages 11-12; April 27-28, 1995, page 21; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; November 29, 1984, page 19; November 29-30, 1979, page 17; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

Effective Date Obsolete Date
03/01/2019 View
03/01/2011 03/01/2019 View
03/01/1997 03/01/2011 View
03/01/1996 03/01/1997 View