Thursday, August 31, 2006
Summary judgment should be the exception, not the rule.
Melvin v. Car-Freshener Corporation, 453 F.3d 1090 (8th Cir. 2006)LAY, Circuit Judge, dissenting. I respectfully dissent. Melvin has presented sufficient evidence from which areasonable jury could infer that she was terminated because her injury qualified herfor workers’ compensation benefits. Too many courts in this circuit, both district and appellate, are utilizing summary judgment in cases where issues of fact remain. This is especially true in cases where witness credibility will be determinative. In these instances, a jury, not the courts, should ultimately decide whether the plaintiff has proven her case. Summary judgment should be the exception, not the rule. As Justice Black explained, The right to confront, cross-examine and impeach adverse witnesses isone of the most fundamental rights sought to be preserved by the Seventh Amendment provision for jury trials in civil cases. The advantages of trial before a live jury with live witnesses, and all the possibilities of considering the human factors, should not be eliminated by substituting trial by affidavit and the sterile bareness of summary judgment.Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 176 (1970) (Black, J., concurring).