Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment Motion

Issue: Can a plaintiff prevail on its summary judgment motion if the plaintiff has refused to take action to protect its own interests?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment motion; Neglect to protect its own interests
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2012

When a party comes to a court seeking equitable relief, failures to take responsibility for their own situations merits scrutiny.  See Metro Motors v. Nissan Motor Corp., 339 F.3d 736, 750 (8th Cir. 2003) (where plaintiff sought equitable relief “the district court refused to help [a party] because [it] could have helped itself and did not.  We find no abuse of discretion in the district court’s refusal to assist a party who neglected to protect its own interests.”); Hebert v. City of Fifty Lakes, 744 N.W.2d 226, 233 n.6 (Minn. 2008) (“he who seeks equity must do equity”).  Ignorance of the law is not a meritorious excuse.  See Albrecht v. Sell, 110 N.W.2d 895, 897-98 (Minn. 1961) (while waiver requires an intentional relinquishment of a known right, what is “known” includes constructive knowledge including the presumption that all persons know the law).

A court will take no action to protect a party who neglects to protect its own interests.  Metro Motors, 339 F.3d at 750.


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