So what is summary judgment?

Summary judgment is a time in your case where all of the discovery has been completed. In other words, both parties have exchanged all of their witnesses and evidence in the case so they know what to expect at Trial. 

When one party reviews all of the evidence and deposition testimony AND they believe that a Judge or Jury could only render one decision, then they file for summary judgment. The standard is that “there are no genuine issues of material facts,” which means even if you believe all of the other side’s evidence we still win. 

The way Summary Judgment works is it is designed to streamline the process. And narrow the issues. It takes a big case and squeezes it down to nothing. Once a Summary Judgment motion is filed, the opposing party has 28 days to respond with their evidence creating a genuine issue of material facts. 

If the filing party is successful, then in most cases the case is dismissed and concluded. There are instances where the moving party could receive a partial summary judgment on certain issues in the case. Most often we see this on liability. In other words, the parties agree that there is liability, but they don’t agree on the damages so the case will proceed to trial on damages only. As a result, it is less expensive on the parties. 

Summary Judgment can be a good tool to streamline your case and get the case dismissed if you’re a defendant. 

Once the parties have had the chance to file the motion and responses, then the Judge will set a hearing and decide the case. The court usually takes the motions under advisement and then issues a ruling on the motions. 

If the case is dismissed, then it is usually a final appealable order, which means you can appeal the Trial court’s decision. If the case is not dismissed, then you usually proceed to trial. 

If you have any questions give us a call to schedule a consultation with our case evaluator.