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Legal Memorandum: Denial of a Summary Judgment

Issue: Does information concerning issues such as a defendant acting in bad faith, improperly, or with evil intent in relations with plaintiff, preclude summary judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Produce evidence of the facts; Bad faith, improperly, or evil intent
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 650 F. Supp. 485
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2006

Issues involving state of mind, motive, intent and good faith are classic fact questions.  See Upjohn Co. v. Riahom Corp., 650 F. Supp. 485, 489-90 (D. Del. 1986).

When a party has not had a full opportunity to complete discovery and the information is exclusively in defendant’s possession, the Third Circuit has long acknowledged that summary judgment must be denied and plaintiffs allowed the discovery sought

to afford plaintiffs an opportunity to produce evidence of the facts necessary to support the relief for which they ask.  It is obvious that this evidence must come largely from the defendants.  This case illustrates the danger of founding a judgment in favor of one party upon his own version of facts within his sole knowledge as set forth in affidavits prepared ex parte.  Cross-examination of the party and a reasonable examination of his records by the other party frequently bring forth further facts which place a very different light on the picture.  The plaintiffs, therefore, should be given a reasonable opportunity under proper safeguards to take the depositions and have the discovery they seek.

 

Toebelman v. Missouri-Kansas Pipeline Co., 130 F.2d 1016, 1022 (3d Cir. 1942).

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