Kenall Mfg. Co. v. Genlyte Thomas Group LLC, 439 F. Supp.2d 854 (N.D. Ill. July 20, 2006) (Castillo, J.).

Judge Castillo denied opposing infringement and invalidity summary judgment motions in this very detailed and thorough opinion. The opinion is most remarkable for its illustration of two basic, but important, practice tips, which are best understood from the following excerpts:

The only thing that the multitude of summary judgment motions and expert reports filed in this hotly-disputed patent case make clear is that multiple issues of material fact remain to be determined. Instead of moving this case toward a timely resolution, the parties are driving up the costs of litigation with superfluous briefing that has repeatedly failed to abide by this Court’s local rules.

                                                                * * *

This case has been poorly litigated up to this point. By failing to file a 56.1 statement of facts and by failing to respond to Genlyte’s 56.1 statement, Kenall’s attorneys have come dangerously close to losing this case for their client based on nothing but their own ineptitude. On the other side, both Genlyte and Kenall have fanned the flame of excessive and superfluous briefing with arguments for unfeasible claim construction and a litany of expert reports that show nothing but material issues of facts. The parties have now spent tens of thousands of dollars on seven expert reports and extensive briefing of three separate motions for summary judgment to prove to this Court that this case is certainly not appropriate for resolution on summary judgment.

Practice Tip #1: realistically assess your summary judgment positions; rather than making every possible argument regardless of merit (the despised “kitchen-sink” approach), make your good arguments well. Throwing every possible argument at a court confuses the issues and – even worse – makes it easy for the court to find questions of fact and to deny your motion. Similarly, filing multiple summary judgment motions generally only frustrates the court and slows down the court’s adjudication of your motion.

Practice Tip #2: follow the Local Rules, in particular, Local Rule 56.1.  Before filing your summary judgment papers, read this rule, read it again and then make sure everyone on your team has read it. Every party filing or responding to summary judgment motions must file a Rule 56.1 statement and must respond to every contention in the opposing party’s Rule 56.1 statement. If you fail to file a Rule 56.1 statement in proper format, fail to correctly cite evidentiary support, improperly fill the statement with statements of law, or fail to file a Rule 56.1 statement at all, you risk losing your motion because all of the statements in your opponent’s Rule 56.1 statement may be deemed admitted. Similarly, if you choose not to respond to your opponent’s Rule 56.1 statement or respond to it without citing supporting evidence, you risk the court accepting your opponent’s statement of facts as true. And you will probably lose.