This is an action by the plaintiffs against the City of Wichita and The Urban Renewal Agency of Wichita, based upon their action in connection with the Urban Renewal Civic Center Project R-19 of the City of Wichita. In their petition the plaintiffs pray for temporary and permanent injunctions against the defendants, an order setting aside the resolution declaring the urban renewal project area (which includes the plaintiffs' property) to be slum, blighted, deteriorated or deteriorating, and for judgment against the defendants in the amount of $125,000.
[The proposed Urban Renewal Civic Center Project R-19 in Wichita consists of an area, with a few exceptions for buildings, bounded by the Big Arkansas River on the west, Main Street on the east, Waterman on the south, and Douglas Avenue on the north. It also includes a smaller area lying to the north between Douglas Avenue and First Street adjoining the other area.]
The defendants filed an answer to the petition and a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court sustained. The plaintiffs have duly perfected an appeal.
The question to be determined is whether the trial court properly sustained the motion for summary judgment.
Our decision reversing the judgment of the lower court on the ground that it erred in sustaining the appellees' motion for summary judgment was announced on the 19th day of May, 1965, and may be found in Brick v. City of Wichita, 195 Kan. 1, 403 P.2d 189.
The appellants' claim for damages against the City of Wichita was dismissed in the trial court and no appeal has been taken from such order.
It was conceded by counsel for the appellees in arguing the case that the appellants' petition states a cause of action. The petition charges in substance that the Board of City Commissioners of Wichita, Kansas, on the 6th day of March, 1962, adopted a resolution declaring property occupied and operated by the appellants as slum, blighted, deteriorated and deteriorating. This finding with respect to the area in the project was a prerequisite for obtaining federal funds for use in the urban renewal project under the terms and conditions of federal statutes on urban renewal. The petition charged such finding was arbitrary and capricious and without foundation in truth and in fact. The latter allegations were denied by the answer of the appellees.
Among the exhibits was the report of E.J. Waits, the city building inspector who conducted the survey which the City Commission used in making its determination.
The appellants in resisting the motion for summary judgment filed an affidavit made by E.J. Waits, which in material part reads:
The appellants also filed an affidavit of Robert H. Nelson, an attorney, who stated that his client, Walker Brothers, Inc., was informed by the urban renewal agency that property owned by it on Water Street, within the designated area, could be excluded from or included in the project area; that it would be up to Walker Brothers.
Subsequent to the filing of the motion for summary judgment and supporting affidavits, the appellants filed a motion for production of documents and things, and a notice to take the deposition of E.J. Waits, but the trial court refused to continue the hearing on the motion. (See, K.S.A. 60-256 [f].)
The motion for summary judgment recited that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact. The trial court upon presentation of the motion considered the only question to be "whether or not the commissioners acted arbitrarily, capriciously, fraudulently, illegally or unlawfully."
The trial court in sustaining the motion for summary judgment held there was no genuine issue as to any material fact. In so determining the trial court gave its opinion which consisted of approximately eight pages in the record. The opinion discloses that he made findings of fact and in so doing considered his personal knowledge, indicating that he would have been a better witness for the appellees than an impartial judge in the case.
This court has recognized in urban renewal projects that where a
The issue presented in the Offen case was whether the action taken by the Commission in passing the two resolutions taking the plaintiff's property was arbitrary, capricious and unlawful. There the petition, as challenged by demurrer, was said to state a good cause of action.
In the court's opinion it was said:
A motion for summary judgment is relatively new to Kansas law. It was enacted as a part of the Kansas Code of Civil Procedure which became effective January 1, 1964. K.S.A. 60-256 is identical to the federal provision contained in Rule 56 (28 U.S.C.A.) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
K.S.A. 60-256 (c) provides in part:
Federal cases are helpful in applying the summary judgment section of the statute. In Schreffler v. Bowles, 153 F.2d 1 (10th Cir.1946), the court said:
In Whelan v. New Mexico Western Oil and Gas Company, 226 F.2d 156 (10th Cir.1955), the court said:
A summary judgment proceeding is not a trial by affidavits, and the parties must always be afforded a trial when there is a good faith dispute over the facts. (United States v. Kansas Gas and Electric Company, 287 F.2d 601 [10th Cir.1961].) A motion for summary judgment cannot be made a substitute for a trial either before a court or jury, and a plaintiff who states a cause of action which entitles him to a trial by jury is entitled to have his case tried in that way and cannot be compelled to submit his evidence in the form of affidavits in resistance to a motion for summary judgment and have the issues determined by such motion. (United States v. Broderick, 59 F.Supp. 189 [D.C. Kan. 1945].)
A court should be cautious in granting a motion for summary judgment where a state of mind is involved, or where the facts are peculiarly in the knowledge of the moving party, and the court should be sure that the party opposing the motion has a fair opportunity to use the discovery process to probe his opponent's mental state and to examine the facts his opponent has at hand. (3 Barron and Holtzoff, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1232.2, p. 111; Somers Construction Co. v. Board of Education, 198 F.Supp. 732 [D.N.J. 1961]; and Cochran v. United States, 123 F.Supp. 362 [D. Conn. 1954].)
Ordinarily a motion for summary judgment should not be granted so long as pretrial discovery remains unfinished. (Smith-Corona Marchant, Inc. v. American Photocopy Equip. Co., 217 F.Supp. 39 [S.D.N.Y. 1963].)
A mere surmise or belief, no matter how reasonably entertained, that a party cannot prevail upon a trial, will not justify refusing him his day in court with respect to material issues which are not clearly shown to be sham, frivolous, or so unsubstantial that it would obviously be futile to try them. It must be shown conclusively that there is no genuine issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Ford v. Luria Steel & Trading Corp., 192 F.2d 880 [8th Cir.1951].)
It has been held on a defendant's motion for summary judgment that an affidavit supporting the motion should not be considered in the absence of an opportunity for plaintiffs to prepare by discovery procedure to meet the issues raised thereby. (Hathaway Motors v. General Motors Corporation, 19 F.R.D. 359 [D.Conn. 1955].)
Turning now to the facts in the instant case they disclose that a definite issue was framed by the pleadings — whether the action of the City Commission of Wichita in finding the appellant's property to be slum, blighted, deteriorated or deteriorating, upon which their resolution approving the urban renewal project was based, was in fact arbitrary, capricious and unlawful. The supporting affidavits filed by the appellees and the counter affidavits filed by the appellants, under the foregoing rules in determining a motion for summary judgment, did not convert the action into a trial by affidavits. The affidavit of E.J. Waits filed by the appellants in an effort to resist the motion for summary judgment was sufficient to keep the issue alive. Furthermore, the appellants had not had an opportunity to exhaust pretrial discovery which they sought.
Under these circumstances, it was clearly erroneous to sustain a motion for summary judgment.
The appellees in their brief seek to have numerous other questions determined on this appeal, all of which on the present state of the record would be purely academic. The material questions to be determined in cases of this type should be resolved upon the basis of live facts and circumstances which have been sufficiently developed to enable the court to be reasonably certain it is making a correct decision.
We therefore decline to resolve the remaining questions in the absence of a full disclosure of all the pertinent facts.
The judgment of the lower court is reversed.