Motion for Summary Judgment

Parties involved in a legal controversy will generally file a motion for summary judgment during or before trial.

A motion for summary judgment can be applied to any issue in a legal controversy. It is of paramount importance to understand the significance of the motion as if granted; the prevailing party obtains favorable judicial resolution on the contested issue.

The legislature dictates the required elements of a motion for summary judgment in Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

“(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or

(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.”

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56

The Supreme Court of the United States in, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986), provided additional guidance regarding motions for summary judgment. The holding can serve to inform an individual’s understanding of a motion for summary judgment. The Court held:

“Party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.”

Thus, pursuant to Celotex, the burden is on the party making the motion to demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of fact to be determined in Court. If the moving party can meet the burden’s threshold–then the controversy is resolved. The legislature and the Supreme Court hence denote a motion for summary judgment as a very useful tool in resolving legal controversies.

By Maya Murphy, P.C., Connecticut
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph C. Maya, Esq.
Joseph C. Maya is the Managing Partner at Maya Murphy, P.C., and handles litigation cases in New York and Connecticut.

Copyright Maya Murphy, P.C.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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