Court Examination of the Discovery File on a Motion for Summary Judgment

This Note examines the history and ambiguous language of rule 56 to determine whether courts have a duty to examine the discovery file before granting a summary judgment. Section I discusses courts’ differing interpretations of the rule. Section II shows that the Supreme Court Advisory Committee which drafted the rule contemplated that courts would examine routinely filed discovery materials when considering a motion for summary judgment. Section III concludes, however, that the expansion of pre-trial discovery since the enactment of the federal rules renders such a trial court duty inconsistent with the drafters’ intent that the rules “be construed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.”