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Employment Litigation: Summary Judgment Motion Strategies

Leveraging Discovery Tools, Statement of Facts, and Timing in Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Claims

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide employment counsel with techniques for pursuing or defending summary judgment motions. Our panel of experienced employment litigators will outline their perspectives and approaches to refine and improve summary judgment motion practice.


Summary judgment is one of the most critical stages in employment litigation. An employer's successful summary judgment motion can cut millions in litigation costs. For plaintiffs' counsel, defeating a summary judgment motion is equally essential.

To effectively advocate for clients, employment counsel must be well versed in summary judgment practice and strategically plan to bring or defend against motions from the very outset of the case. Boilerplates and templates are far from adequate for summary judgment motions of any kind, but particularly with the nuanced challenges presented by employment claims.

Listen as our authoritative panel reviews the federal procedural rules and substantive techniques for summary judgment motions. The panel will provide attendees with litigation strategies on timing and the use of discovery, offer tools to use the statement of facts to the employer's advantage, and outline approaches to save employer clients a great deal in employee claims defense and litigation costs.



  1. Procedural framework
    1. FRCP 56
    2. CCP 437c
  2. Substantive framework
    1. Employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
    2. Affirmative defenses
    3. Review CACI jury instructions for claims and affirmative defenses
    4. What facts are "material," and which are immaterial?
    5. Common MSJ grounds: statute of limitations, failure to exhaust administrative processes, legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for the adverse action, alleged harassment not severe or pervasive, alleged harassment not "because of" gender, etc.
    6. Triable material facts regarding "pretext"
  3. Practice techniques
    1. Discovery
      1. Prepare for and taking plaintiff's deposition
      2. Taking HR and managers' depositions to create triable material facts
      3. Necessary third party discovery?
    2. Timing
      1. Note California 75-day notice requirement
      2. California MSJ must be heard more than 30 days before trial
    3. Form of motion
    4. Statement of facts
    5. Legal argument
    6. Opposition based on need for additional discovery
    7. Objections to evidence
    8. Order granting or denying MSJ
    9. Motion for reconsideration, writ of mandamus, and appellate rights


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • What are the principal strategies for planning a motion for summary judgment in employment litigation?
  • What are the core procedural requirements?
  • What are the substantive considerations in planning the motion?
  • How does discovery impact the outcome of a motion for summary judgment?


Erick, Casey
Casey S. Erick

Cowles & Thompson

Mr. Erick is a Shareholder and focuses on Commercial Litigation and Employment Law.  He has represented clients in...  |  Read More

Paetkau, Tyler
Tyler M. Paetkau
Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch

Mr. Paetkau has represented employers in labor and employment law matters for more than 25 years. He has handled...  |  Read More

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