What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?
A motion for summary judgment is a motion request made by a defendant in a civil case. The motion for summary judgment implies that the plaintiff was unable to raise any genuine issue to be tried in the case. Because of this, the motion asks the judge to look at the evidence and rule in favor of the defendant. A motion for summary judgment is usually made before a trial.
For a motion for summary judgment to be granted by a judge in most jurisdictions, there is a two-part standard that must be satisfied. First, there cannot be a genuine issue of material fact that is disputed between the two parties, and second, the moving party has to be entitled to a judgment by law. The judge can decide on a ruling based on affidavits, testimony received outside of the court, depositions, and any admissions of an act or a response to written interrogatories that discuss legal and factual issues of the suit. These alleged issues and facts are also attached to a written legal brief which is in support of the motion.
If the suit contains issued that should be tried in the court, the motion for summary judgment will usually be denied and then the claim can be taken to trial. In some circumstances, there can be multiple claims or causes of actions. In these situations, a judge may decide that certain actions cannot be decided under a motion for summary judgment while others can. In this way, the judge leaves fewer matters to be dealt with in a trial.