Adequate Period of Time for Discovery, Summary Judgment

A summary judgment is essentially a trial without having to go through the “traditional” in-person trial process. It is typically entered for one party where based on certain undisputed facts that party is legally entitled to a judgment in his, her or its favor.

Procedurally, however, a “motion for summary judgment should be denied, or at least deferred, if the adverse party has not yet had an opportunity to conduct adequate discovery in opposition to the motion.” VBM Corp. v. Marvel Enters, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 176, 178 (Mo. Ct. App. 1992). What constitutes “adequate” discovery depends on the basis for the underlying motion for summary judgment.

If a party moves for summary judgment, and the party opposing the motion intends to claim that there has been an insufficient period of time for discovery, there is usually a Rule 74.04(f) motion. Rule 74.04(f) allows the court to postpone ruling on any summary judgment motion to accommodate further discovery. “A party seeking a continuance must file an affidavit supporting its motion and must specify what additional evidence supporting the existence of a factual dispute the movant would have presented to the court if the court had continued the hearing.” Adams v. City of Manchester, 242 S.W.3d 418, 427 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).

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