What Are the Facts Ma'am?

Bradner v. Am. Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, et al. | 12-3426

August 2014

The next time you face a summary judgment motion in which an opponent has failed to properly support a conclusory allegation, consider citing to Brandner v. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, No. 12-3426. In Bradner, the Academy intended to discipline Brandner for an expert opinion he reached; the Academy found the opinion unjustified. The case was premised on Illinois law, which allows a member to sue an organization if the membership is an “economic necessity” or affects “important economic interests,” and the Academy’s motion for summary judgment was based on Brandner’s failure to establish that his “suspension would affect his important economic interests.” The Seventh Circuit found Brandner had failed to factually establish this level of economic injury. Rather, Brandner relied on his own assertions to substantiate the claim. In reaching this conclusion, the Court reviewed the myriad ways that proof of economic injury could have been established but was not. The Court noted “talk is cheap” and the “plaintiff’s own say-so is no substitute for evidence.”