A motion for summary judgment involves a litigant requesting the court to rule in favor of the moving party against the opposing party, either for some or all counts in a lawsuit. In these cases, the movant would try to prove that the plaintiff will still win the case even if the parties agree on some facts pertaining to the case.
Like other motions, a written request will be made to the court for a summary judgment.
What’s Needed for a Summary Judgment?
Either the plaintiff or the defendant in an injury case can make the motion, but regardless, the movant will need to prove two things for a summary judgment to take place.
- No material facts in the case can be reasonably disputed
- Under the applicable law, the movant is entitled to the summary judgment due to the lack of disputed facts
How a Summary Judgment Works
Under certain circumstances, summary judgment could work in different ways.
For example, two parties may be involved in a car accident, and one party claims that the other was responsible for the crash by making an illegal left turn. A camera at the intersection may prove that this was the case, which could lead the plaintiff’s attorney to file a motion for summary judgment.
In this case, there would be no facts that could be reasonably disputed, as both parties agree that the illegal left turn caused the accident. Having come to an agreement between both parties regarding these undisputed facts, the movant would be entitled to summary judgment under the law of negligence.
While in this case there may not be a need to litigate around liability, the issue of damage, or how much the defendant owes the movant, could still require litigation.
Starting a Motion for Summary Judgment
By a certain date, the movant will need to file his or her motion for summary judgment. The deadline will depend on the state and whether it’s set based on the local rules of civil procedure or in the case scheduling order.
The non-moving party also has the option of responding to the motion, but they must issue a written response within a certain amount of time, depending on the state.
If a party involved in an injury case wishes to file a motion for summary judgment, an injury attorney can help guide them through the process and give them a good idea of what to expect during the ensuing hearing.