Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 11:38 PM

COA Warns Trial Judges: Don't Make Factual Findings For Summary Judgment

Today in Craddock v. Craddock the Court of Appeals (COA) reversed a summary judgment order which contained 32 findings of fact, some of which addressed issues on which evidence was conflicting. This prompted the COA to reiterate this warning from a 30-year-old case: "'[W]e feel compelled again to point out that it is not a part of the function of the court on a motion for summary judgment to make findings of fact and conclusions of law. As we have pointed out on previous occasions, finding the facts in a judgment entered on a motion for summary judgment presupposes that the facts are in dispute. . . . [T]he Supreme Court and this Court have emphasized in numerous opinions that upon a motion for summary judgment it is no part of the court's function to decide issues of fact but solely to determine whether there is an issue of fact to be tried. Despite our frequent reminders, we find that some of the trial judges continue to treat the motion for summary judgment as a hearing upon the merits before the court without a jury where the judge becomes the trier of the facts.'"

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