Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Insalaco v. Hope Lutheran Church (Cal. Ct. App. - May 27, 2020)

Sometimes an opinion is worth mentioning simply because one might cite it.

Like this one.

It's a pretty darn categorical case that holds that even if a party has entirely failed to be diligent in discovery, a requested continuance of a motion for summary judgment still needs to be granted if the not-yet-obtained discovery is critical to the opposition.  Justice Miller doesn't say this in exactly those terms, but that's nonetheless the holding.  That even if (as here) there was no rational reason why the nonmoving party hadn't conducted yet a site inspection of the property during the prior year of discovery, that lack of diligence doesn't matter when there's not yet a trial date, discovery hasn't cut off, there's been no prior request for a continuance, and the requested discovery is essential.

The case basically obviates the due diligence requirement in that setting, holding that the need to get the MSJ right outweighs whatever marginal downside exists from continuing the motion in such a setting.

Plaintiffs can (and should) use the case to request and obtain a continuance of an MSJ  Defendants should be aware of the case so they don't schedule a hearing too early and get it continued on this basis.

Good to know for both sides.