Abstract

ONE TOO MANY RIVERS TO CROSS: RULE 50 PRACTICE IN THE MODERN ERA OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ROBERT J. GREGORY

Copyright 1996 Florida State University Law Review

This Article explores the relationship between the rise of summary judgment and the nature of Rule 50 practice. The Rule 50 procedures remain in common use, despite the substantial change in the operation of summary judgment. The Article argues that the indiscriminate use of these procedures is increasingly suspect in light of the changes in the approach to summary judgment. Certainly, where a defendant has been denied summary judgment, the granting of relief under Rule 50, based on the same arguments advanced in support of summary judgment, is a troubling result. In fact, the law of the case doctrine strongly suggests that a court should adhere to its previous denial of summary judgment once a case goes to trial, absent a pertinent change in the governing legal standards or a substantial unraveling, at trial, of the plaintiff's case. As the Article discusses more fully, the significant increase in the use of summary judgment under the Supreme Court's trilogy of cases decided in the mid-1980s, wherein the Court restructured the respective burdens of plaintiffs and defendants in the summary judgment process, should result in a concomitant reduction in the use of the Rule 50 procedures.


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