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The Honest Belief Rule - Is Summary Judgment Ever Appropriate?

"Empirical research confirms that motions for summary judgment are more likely to be sought and granted against plaintiffs in employment cases than in other types of cases. This practice has contributed to a striking disparity in win rates between plaintiffs in employment cases and plaintiffs in other types of cases." Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the application of the "Honest (Even if Mistaken) Belief Defense. "[C]ourts in every circuit have a long history of applying this "doctrine" in granting summary judgment against employees." Under this defense, judges have embraced "false, trivial and baseless rationales for an employer's actions" as long as those beliefs were sincerely held. Matthew C. Koski, Matthew C. Koski, Preserving the Right to a Jury Trial by Preventing AdverseCredibility Inferences at Summary Judgment, published by The Employee Rights AdvocacyInstitute For Law & Policy (2012).

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