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By Lora Friedemann

An early motion for summary judgment can be a useful tool when a claim turns on a question of law and the facts are not in dispute. In other cases, summary judgment is more appropriate after the opponent has had a full opportunity for discovery.

Several judges in the District of Minnesota require litigants to seek permission before filing an early motion for summary judgment. For example, in M-I Drilling Fluids UK Ltd. v. Dynamic Air Inc., Case No. 14-cv-4857, the Pretrial Scheduling Order required that a party seeking summary judgment before the close of discovery submit a letter addressing “the basis for the motion, whether discovery relating to the issue or issues to be addressed by the motion is complete, and why judicial efficiency would be served by allowing the motion to proceed.” Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer recently struck a motion for summary judgment that was filed without obtaining prior approval.

Other judges address this issue in their published Practice Pointers and Preferences. For example, Judge Michael J. Davis indicates in his Practice Pointers and Preferences that “[p]arties may not file a motion for summary judgment prior to the discovery deadline unless they have received special permission from the Court.”

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