United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division
WILLIAM HURT, DEADRA HURT, ANDREA HURT, DEBBIE HURT, Plaintiffs,
JEFF VANTLIN, JACK SPENCER, WILLIAM ARBAUGH, JASON PAGETT, LARRY NELSON, RICHARD BLANTON, DAN DEYOUNG, CITY OF EVANSVILLE, MATTHEW WISE, ZACHARY JONES, AMY BURROWS-BECKHAM, Defendants.
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court.
pending before the Court are requests by two sets of
Defendants for leave to file excess pages in support of their
forthcoming summary judgment motions. [Filing No.
247; Filing No. 249.] The Court's Practices
and Procedures limit summary judgment briefs to 35 pages,
unless a party can show “extraordinary and compelling
reasons” for additional pages. [Filing No. 45 at
3.] Defendants Zachary Jones and Matthew Wise ask the
Court to allow them to file a 70-page supporting brief,
[Filing No. 247 at 2], and Defendants William Arbaugh,
Richard Blanton, City of Evansville, Dan DeYoung, Larry
Nelson, Jason Pagett, Jack Spencer, and Jeff Vantlin
(collectively, the “Evansville
Defendants”) ask the Court to allow them to file a
90-page supporting brief, [Filing No. 249 at 3]. Plaintiffs
object to both of the requests, pointing out that if the
discovery record is as lengthy and complex and Defendants
indicate, “it seems obvious that there are genuine
issues of material fact.” [Filing No. 250 at 2.]
Plaintiffs ask that if the Court does grant the requests for
additional pages, Plaintiffs also receive the same number of
pages for their response briefs. [Filing No. 250 at 3.]
Defendants are reminded that to obtain summary judgment on a
claim, they must show that there are no genuine issues of
material fact on the claim when construing the facts in a
light most favorable to the non-movants-here, the Plaintiffs.
See Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903,
907 (7th Cir. 2008) (holding that the court views the record
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws
all reasonable inferences in that party's favor);
Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009)
(holding that the moving party is entitled to summary
judgment only if no reasonable fact-finder could return a
verdict for the non-moving party). On summary judgment, the
Court cannot weigh evidence or make credibility
determinations because those tasks are left to the
fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc.,
657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011). Any doubt as to the
existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against
the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614
F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).
counsel has professional obligations pursuant to Rule 11 and
28 U.S.C. § 1927 to only move for summary judgment on
the legal claims on which they have a good faith belief they
can obtain summary judgment pursuant to the summary judgment
standard. Failure to follow that principle can result in
sanctions, even if only a portion of the motion is frivolous.
See Senese v. Chicago Area I.B. of T. Pension Fund,
237 F.3d 819, 826 (7th Cir. 2001) (“A litigant cannot
expect to avoid all sanctions under Rule 11 merely because
the pleading or motion under scrutiny was not entirely
frivolous.”); see also Meeks v. Jewel Companies,
Inc., 845 F.2d 1421, 1422 (7th Cir. 1988) (“The
attitude seems to be, it can't hurt to ask. It can. Any
frivolous motion, pleading, or request is subject to
sanctions . . . .”).
although Plaintiffs' Statement of Claims asserts twelve
claims, [Filing No. 225], and Defendants represents that
there may be as many as 72 distinct claims when each of the
four Plaintiffs is considered, [Filing No. 249 at 2],
Defendants should not move for summary judgment on each and
every claim unless they can ethically do so in keeping with
the foregoing standards. The Court is already familiar with
the claims raised in this case because of the Defendants'
Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings, which resulted
in a twenty-five page ruling narrowing Plaintiffs'
claims. [Filing No. 112.] The parties have also engaged in
multiple discovery disputes that have required judicial
intervention to resolve. Additionally, the parties'
motions assert that discovery has resulted in over 4, 500
pages of deposition testimony, copious amounts of written and
electronic discovery, and at least six expert witnesses.
[Filing No. 247 at 2.] Given this landscape, the Court
expects counsel to diligently analyze the legal claims in
light of the applicable summary judgment standard and only
move for summary judgment on the select claims-if any- for
which summary judgment is warranted. Counsel should also bear
in mind this popular saying: “If I had more time, I
would have written a shorter letter.” See
(last visited September 27, 2016).
these reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART
the Defendants' requests for additional pages to support
their forthcoming motions for summary judgment. [Filing No.
247; Filing No. 249.] Defendants Jones and Wise are
granted leave to file a supporting summary judgment brief of
up to 50 pages. The Evansville Defendants are granted leave
to file a supporting summary judgment brief of up to 50
pages. Plaintiffs may file briefs up to 50 pages in response
to either of these motions. Additionally, all parties are
ORDERED to review the Court's Practices and Procedures