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Friday, May 28, 2021

New Summary Judgment Opinion: Summary Judgment for Defendant Upheld on Appeal Because Plaintiff Failed to Comply with Rule 56.03, Tenn. R. Civ. P.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has released its decision in Brennan v. Goble, No. E2020-00671-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 27, 2021).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:
This appeal arose from a personal injury action. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, accompanied by a statement of material facts in compliance with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 56.03. The plaintiff responded to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment but failed to respond to the separate statement of material facts. As a result of the plaintiff’s failure to respond to the statement of material facts, the Trial Court deemed those facts as stated by the defendant as admitted and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant upon its determination that the defendant had negated an essential element of the plaintiff’s claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This is a correct result.  I have seen both movants and nonmovants fail to comply with Rule 56.03's requirement of citing to the record to support or oppose a motion for summary judgment (which does not end well for the noncompliant party).  As noted on page 10 of this decision, Rule 56.03 exists so that a court does not have to unnecessarily dig through an entire record just to determine if a dispute exists as to a material fact.  

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