Miss. R. Civ. P. 56

As amended through December 19, 2023
Rule 56 - Summary Judgment
(a) For Claimant. A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counter-claim, or crossclaim, or to obtain a declaratory judgment may, at any time after the expiration of thirty days from the commencement of the action or after service of a motion for summary judgment by the adverse party, move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof.
(b) For Defending Party. A party against whom a claim, counter-claim, or crossclaim is asserted or a declaratory judgment is sought may, at any time, move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof.
(c) Motion and Proceedings Thereon. The motion shall be served at least ten days before the time fixed for the hearing. The adverse party prior to the day of the hearing may serve opposing affidavits. The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability alone, although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of damages.
(d) Case Not Fully Adjudicated on Motion. If on motion under this rule judgment is not rendered on the whole case or for all the relief asked and a trial is necessary, the court at the hearing of the motion, by examining the pleadings and the evidence before it and by interrogating counsel, shall if practicable ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy and what material facts are actually and in good faith controverted. It shall thereupon make an order specifying the facts that appear without substantial controversy, including the extent to which the amount of damages or other relief is not in controversy, and directing such further proceedings in the action as are just. Upon the trial of the action the facts so specified shall be deemed established, and the trial shall be conducted accordingly.
(e) Form of Affidavits; Further Testimony; Defense Required. Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matter stated therein. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in an affidavit shall be attached thereto or served therewith. The court may permit affidavits to be supplemented or opposed by depositions, answers to interrogatories, or further affidavits. When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings, but his response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If he does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against him.
(f) When Affidavits Are Unavailable. Should it appear from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that he cannot for reasons stated present by affidavit facts essential to justify his opposition, the court may refuse the application for judgment or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or depositions to be taken or discovery to be had or may make such order as is just.
(g) Affidavits Made in Bad Faith. Should it appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are presented in bad faith or solely for the purpose of delay, the court shall forthwith order the party employing them to pay to the other party the amount of the reasonable expenses which the filing of the affidavits caused him to incur, including reasonable attorney's fees, and any offending party or attorney may be adjudged guilty of contempt.
(h) Costs to Prevailing Party When Summary Judgment Denied. If summary judgment is denied the court shall award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses incurred in attending the hearing of the motion and may, if it finds that the motion is without reasonable cause, award attorneys' fees.

Miss. R. Civ. P. 56

Advisory Committee Note adopted effective 7/1/2014.
Advisory Committee Notes amended effective 1/16/2020.

Advisory Committee Notes

It is important to distinguish between a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings. When ruling on a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, the trial court may "pierce the pleadings" and consider extrinsic evidence, such as affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions. When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the trial court may not "pierce the pleadings" and shall only consider the allegations contained in the pleading asserting the claim. Similarly, when ruling on a Rule 12(c) motion on the pleadings, the trial court shall only consider the allegations within the pleadings. If matters outside the pleadings are presented to and considered by the trial court in connection with a motion for judgment on the pleadings or a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the trial court must treat the motion as one for summary judgment and give all parties a reasonable opportunity to respond accordingly present pertinent material. See M.R.C.P. 12(b) and (c).

A trial court need not make findings of fact when ruling on a motion for summary judgment because "a Rule 56 summary judgment hearing is not an action 'tried upon the facts without a jury' so as to trigger Rule 52 applicability." See Harmon v. Regions Bank, 961 So. 2d 693, 700 (Miss. 2007). See also Uniform Rules of Circuit and County Court Practice.

Although the Court has held that an affidavit is not always required to obtain relief under Rule 56(f), a party must "present specific facts why he cannot oppose the motion" and must specifically demonstrate "how postponement of a ruling on the motion will enable him, by discovery or other means, to rebut the movant's showing." Howarth v. M & H Ventures, LLC, 237 So. 3d 107, 113 (Miss. 2007).