What Is a Summary Judgement Motion?
When you file a summary judgement, you are asking the judge to consider the facts of the case to make a ruling on either one part of the case or the whole case. It is used when both parties agree on certain facts rather than disputing the facts as they would do in a trial. A summary judgement motion can get certain parts of the case or the whole case resolved before a trial.
When Would You File a Summary Judgement Motion?
You will only file a summary judgement motion if both parties agree on the key facts. The judge and jury do not need to decide what the key facts are because both parties agree on the key facts. Instead, the key facts need to be interpreted, and the judge needs to make a ruling. A summary judgement motion allows you to dismiss parts of the case before trial so that you can focus on the facts in dispute at the trial. The courts encourage people to file summary judgement motions because it helps the trial process go quicker, which helps their scheduling.
What Happens If the Other Party Files a Summary Judgement Motion, But I Don’t Agree On The Facts?
When a summary judgement motion is filed, the other party has a chance to respond. They can agree to the summary judgement motion or they can oppose the motion. If they oppose the summary judgement motion, then the case will go to trial.
What Evidence Will the Court Consider in a Summary Judgement Motion?
The court will view the pretrial record when making its decision. This includes affidavits, deposition testimony, documents, etc. Good discovery can be vital to having summary judgement motions ruled in your favor. Winning summary judgement motions can also increase your negotiation power when discussing settlements.
If the judge doubts the credibility of the evidence of the parties in the case, they may still send the case to trial.
What Is a Partial Summary Judgement Motion?
A partial summary judgement motion just asks the judge to make a judgement on an element of the case. In personal injury cases, a partial summary judgement motion may be filed to ask the judge to make a ruling on the defendant’s liability. Both parties agree it is clear that the defendant was completely responsible for the accident. However, the parties disagree on the compensation amount. If the summary judgement motion is approved, it means that the trial can focus on the compensation award amount, and there is no need for either party to prove liability. The judge has already agreed that the defendant is liable for the accident.