Murata Mfg. Co., Ltd. v. Bel Fuse, Inc., No. 03 C 2934, Order (N.D. Ill. Mar. 5, 2008) (Gottschall, J.).*
Judge Gottschall denied plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion without prejudice for failure to comply with both Local Rule 56.1 and the Court’s Standing Order — the Standing Order further explained that each short, numbered statement of fact required by Local Rule 56.1 should contain one fact and no attorney argument. Despite Local Rule 56.1’s clear requirements and the Standing Order’s directive to strictly comply with Local Rule 56.1, the Court held that nearly one-third of plaintiff’s 145 statements of fact did not comply with the rules:
- Many were long;
- One contained no facts;
- Several focused on an expert’s methodology instead of his results; and
- The rest contained inferences, argument, or legal conclusions.
The Court explained that the case’s complexity required strict adherence to Local Rule 56.1:
The court simply does not possess the resources to comb through the parties’ statements of fact in an attempt to sift out usable fact from impermissible argument or inference. … The Standing Order and LR 56.1 are composed in plain English and their meaning is clear; the court properly expects experienced and sophisticated attorneys to adhere to them strictly, particularly given the complex and sophisticated nature of this litigation.
The Court, therefore, used its discretion to deny plaintiff’s summary judgment motion without prejudice for not complying with Local Rule 56.1 and the Standing Order.
Practice Tip: I write this tip frequently, but it merits repetition.** Strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1 is difficult, time consuming, and it goes against many lawyers’ natures to write facts devoid of argument. But strict compliance is the best, and maybe only, way to win, or defeat, summary judgment in the Northern District. And if you write your Rule 56 statements well, you make the Court’s job easier, which can only help your case.
** Click here to read about other Local Rule 56.1 opinions.