Lackey v. Morris et al.: How to Lose a Motion for Summary JudgmentMarch 1, 2016 | Martha Charepoo
In Lackey, the respondent learned this lesson the hard way. The trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of a school district and a teacher who were sued for negligence by a student who injured his wrist in gym class. The student appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment to the school district, agreeing with the trial court that the evidence presented by the student on summary judgment was not enough to establish waiver of sovereign immunity.
But the outcome was different for the teacher. In support of his summary judgment motion, the teacher submitted a two-page statement of uncontroverted facts pursuant to Rule 74.04(c), but cited facts found outside of that document to establish his immunity defense. The Court of Appeals found that these facts were not part of the summary judgment record, and, therefore refused to consider them. Thus, based on the limited record submitted by the teacher, the Court found inadequate support for the teacher’s immunity defense, and reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment.
The lesson for practitioners is clear: when filing a motion for summary judgment, open the rule book to Rule 74.04(c), and follow it explicitly.
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