Powell v. Gentiva Health Services, Inc.
Order striking the 60 Proposed Determinations of Undisputed Fact and Conclusions of Law and the 61 Brief filed by Gentiva Health Services, Inc. Defendant is ordered by 12/6/2013 to file a new brief & proposed determinations and conclusions compliant with this Order & the Local Rules. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 11/27/2013. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES, INC.,
CIVIL ACTION 13-0007-WS-M
This matter comes before the Court sua sponte on preliminary review of defendant’s
Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 59) and accompanying filings. In particular, the Court
observes that defendant has filed a 29-page principal brief whose statement of facts consists of a
mere single sentence incorporating by reference a separate document entitled “Defendant’s
Proposed Determinations of Undisputed Fact and Conclusions of Law.” That document contains
21 pages of factual recitations, none of which are set forth in the brief itself. (See doc. 61, at 3;
doc. 60, at 1-21.) The net result is that defendant’s summary judgment brief (counting nonredundant facts and law, spread across two submissions) is effectively 50 pages, substantially in
excess of the 30-page limit prescribed by Local Rule 7.1(b), without leave of court.
Local Rule 7.2(a) requires that a summary judgment movant submit a brief, along with
suggested Determinations of Undisputed Fact and Conclusions of Law. However, that rule “was
not intended to allow parties to evade page limitations imposed by LR 7.1(b) … ; rather, the
purpose of the Suggested Determinations of Fact and Conclusions of Law requirement is to have
a party restate the facts and law from its brief in a form that the Court could adopt as its ruling in
that party’s favor.” Phillips v. Irvin, 2006 WL 1663677, *1 n.3 (S.D. Ala. June 14, 2006); see
also State Farm Casualty Co. v. Richardson, 2008 WL 4531765, *1 n.1 (S.D. Ala. Oct. 9, 2008)
(“The 30-page briefing limitation set forth in Local Rule 7.1(b) would be meaningless if a party
could disaggregate the fact and law portions of its brief into two different filings. … [T]he brief
should be a self-contained filing including all factual recitation and legal discussion necessary to
support the movant’s position.”); Hosea v. Langley, 2006 WL 314454, *15 n.50 (S.D. Ala. Feb.
8, 2006) (similar). Moreover, allowing filings under Rule 7.2(a) to include material omitted
from the principal brief would be inefficient and unwieldy because it would obligate the Court to
read two interwoven documents in tandem in order to glean the gist of the movant’s arguments.
More fundamentally, this is hardly the sort of hyper-technical, complex litigation that
might reasonably warrant briefing substantially in excess of the published page limitations set
forth in Local Rule 7.1(b). Those prescribed limits are sufficient for the vast majority of actions
litigated in federal court. In the undersigned’s experience, it is a rare case that cannot reasonably
be briefed within those generous boundaries. The Court is hard-pressed to understand why
briefing in this case could not be completed within the spatial constraints of Local Rule 7.1(b).
The three-page Amended Complaint (doc. 17) frames this action as a single-claim Americans
with Disabilities Act case that is unremarkable in factual or legal sophistication relative to other
employment discrimination actions routinely litigated in this District Court within the Local Rule
For all of these reasons, defendant’s Brief (doc. 61) and Proposed Determinations of
Undisputed Fact and Conclusions of Law (doc. 60) filed in support of its Motion for Summary
Judgment are stricken. Defendant is ordered to file and serve a new brief and new proposed
determinations and conclusions, compliant with this Order and the Local Rules, on or before
December 6, 2013. At that time, a briefing schedule will be entered for the Rule 56 Motion.
DONE and ORDERED this 27th day of November, 2013.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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