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    Summary judgment

    Summary judgment

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    In law, a summary judgment (also judgment as a matter of law or summary disposition[1]) is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, i.e., without a full trial. Summary judgments may be issued on the merits of an entire case, or on discrete issues in that case. The formulation of the summary judgment standard is stated in somewhat different ways by courts in different jurisdictions. In the United States, the presiding judge generally must find there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."[2] In England and Wales, the court rules for a party without a full trial when "the claim, defence or issue has no real prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at a trial."[3]

    In common-law systems, questions about what the law actually is in a particular case are decided by judges; in rare cases jury nullification of the law may act to contravene or complement the instructions or orders of the judge, or other officers of the court. A factfinder has to decide what the facts are and apply the law. In traditional common law the factfinder was a jury, but in many jurisdictions the judge now acts as the factfinder as well. It is the factfinder who decides "what really happened", and it is the judge who applies the law to the facts as determined by the factfinder, whether directly or by giving instructions to the jury.

    In the absence of an award of summary judgment (or some type of pretrial dismissal), a lawsuit ordinarily proceeds to trial, which is an opportunity for litigants to present evidence in an attempt to persuade the factfinder that they are saying "what really happened", and that, under the applicable law, they should prevail.

    The necessary steps before a case can get to trial include disclosing documents to the opponent by discovery, showing the other side the evidence, often in the form of witness statements. This process is lengthy, and can be difficult and costly.

    A party moving (applying) for summary judgment is attempting to avoid the time and expense of a trial when, in the moving party's view, the outcome is obvious. Typically this is stated as, when all the evidence likely to be put forward is such that no reasonable factfinder could disagree with the moving party, summary judgment is appropriate. Sometimes this will occur when there is no real dispute as to what happened, but it also frequently occurs when there is a nominal dispute but the non-moving party cannot produce enough evidence to support its position. A party may also move for summary judgment in order to eliminate the risk of losing at trial, and possibly avoid having to go through discovery (i.e., by moving at the outset of discovery), by demonstrating to the judge, via sworn statements and documentary evidence, that there are no material factual issues remaining to be tried. If there is nothing for the factfinder to decide, then the moving party asks rhetorically, The moving party will also attempt to persuade the court that the undisputed material facts require judgment to be entered in its favor. In many jurisdictions, a party moving for summary judgment takes the risk that, although the judge may agree there are no material issues of fact remaining for trial, the judge may also find that it is the party that is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


    1 Specific jurisdictions

    1.1 United States

    1.1.1 State-court practice

    1.1.2 Filing and privacy

    1.1.3 Criminal law Counterpart

    1.2 England and Wales

    1.3 Canada 1.4 Turkey 1.5 Germany 1.6 China 2 See also 3 References 4 External links

    Specific jurisdictions[edit]

    United States[edit]

    Civil procedure

    in the United States

    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

    Doctrines of civil procedure

    Jurisdiction Subject-matter



    Personal () Venue Change of venue Pleadings Complaint

    (Cause of actionCase Information StatementClass action (2005 Act) )

    DemurrerAnswer (affirmative defense)ReplyCounterclaimCrossclaimJoinderIndispensable partyImpleaderInterpleaderInterventionOther motions

    Pre-trial procedure

    DiscoveryInitial conferenceInterrogatoriesDepositions

    Request for admissions

    Request for production

    Resolution without trial

    Default judgmentSummary judgmentVoluntary dismissalInvoluntary dismissalSettlement


    Parties plaintiffdefendantJury ()Burden of proof


    (As a matter of law (JMOL)Renewed JMOLNotwithstanding verdict (JNOV)Motion to set aside(new trial) )


    (InjunctionDamagesAttorney's fee (American ruleEnglish rule)Declaratory judgment)

    Appeal vte

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    "Summary judgment" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR

    In the United States federal courts, summary judgment is governed by Federal Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, derived primarily from the three seminal cases concerning summary judgment out of the 1980s. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56; , 477 U.S. 317, 322–27 (1986) (clarifying the shifting allocations of burdens of production, persuasion, and proof at summary judgment); , 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986) (applying heightened evidentiary standard of proof in libel action to judicial assessment of propriety of summary judgment); , 475 U.S. 574, 596–98 (1986) (holding antitrust plaintiff with an inherently implausible claim was subject to dismissal at summary judgment).

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Summary Judgment

    Summary Judgment

    Primary tabs

    Summary Judgment Primary tabs Definition

    Summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party without a full trial.


    In civil cases, either party may make a pre-trial motion for summary judgment.

    Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary judgment for federal courts. Under Rule 56, in order to succeed in a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show 1) that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and 2) that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

    "Material fact" refers to any facts that could allow a fact-finder to decide against the movant.

    Many states have similar pre-trial motions.

    Partial Summary Judgment

    Judges may grant partial summary judgment. For example, a judge might rule on some factual issues, but leave others for trial. Alternately, a judge might grant summary judgment regarding liability, but still hold a trial to determine damages.

    Procedural Notes

    Viewing Evidence

    When considering a motion for summary judgment, a judge will view all evidence in the light most favorable to the movant's opponent.


    When a party moves for summary judgment, there is no need for that party to submit "affidavits or other similar materials" to support the motion. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986).

    Granting the Motion

    If the motion is granted, there will be no trial. The judge will immediately enter judgment for the movant.

    Further Reading

    For more on summary judgment, see this Florida State University Law Review article, this New York Law Journal article, and this Oklahoma City University Law Review article.

    wex THE LEGAL PROCESS civil procedure courts wex definitions Keywords civil procedure

    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure


    Source : www.law.cornell.edu

    What is Summary Judgment?

    In any given trial, there are always two overarching arguments.

    What is Summary Judgment?

    What is Summary Judgment?

    In any given trial, there are always two overarching arguments. The attorneys argue about the law: determining which law applies and whether the law should be changed. Ultimately, questions of law will be decided by the judge. The second argument is over the facts of each case, in other words, what actually happened. A jury usually decides the facts after considering testimony and other exhibits.

    However, in many cases, the parties will agree on some of the facts. When one party believes that there are no important facts in dispute, he will file a motion for summary judgment. A typical summary judgment motion has three parts. For the purposes of this article, let's assume that the plaintiff filed the motion, and that the defendant must now respond.

    Part 1: These are the facts: First, the plaintiff will present a version of the facts. The plaintiff usually attaches photos, signed statements from witnesses, and any other evidence to back up their statements about the facts.Part 2: This is the law: Next, the plaintiff will argue about the state of the law. The plaintiff's attorney will write up a memorandum that discusses the statutes and cases that govern the parties and attempt to convince the judge that, under the law, the plaintiff is entitled to win the case.Part 3: Even if…: In the last part of the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff will anticipate what the defendant will argue, and will try to prove that even if the defendant is correct in her arguments, the plaintiff will still win the case. For example, the plaintiff in a case about squatter's rights might claim they were living on a piece of property for 15 years, but anticipates that the defendant will argue that the plaintiff has really only been living on the property for 10 years. In this case, the plaintiff can argue that even if he had only been living on the property for 10 years, that is still enough time to win on a claim of squatter's rights.Next, the defendant responds: In her response, the defendant can either try to show that the plaintiff's arguments about the law are incorrect, or that there is evidence that there could be more than one version of the facts.The judge's decision: After all the papers and supporting evidence has been submitted, the judge will review all the paperwork and make a decision. The judge will grant the motion, or agree with (in this case) the plaintiff, if (1) the plaintiff's arguments about the law were correct, and (2) even assuming the defendant's version of the facts were true, the plaintiff is still entitled to win. The judge will deny the motion if there is evidence that presents any questions of fact that should be put to the test of a trial.

    See FindLaw's section on Trials and Appeals for more information.

    Source : www.findlaw.com

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