What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?
A motion for summary judgment usually happens after the parties have completed all of their discovery.
If a defendant moves for summary judgment, they will have to demonstrate that there are no admissible facts in the record that could support a plaintiff's claims. The phrase used in evaluating summary judgment motions is whether there is "a genuine dispute of material fact."
Because the plaintiff has the burden of proof, a defendant can get summary judgment if there is a lack of evidence supporting an essential element. A defendant can also get summary judgment if the plaintiff has made admissions fatal to an element of their claims.
The presumption is still in favor of the plaintiff, given the preference to have disputes fully adjudicated on the merits. However, if you are a plaintiff in a civil case, you should make sure that before and during discovery you are getting information from your attorney about the possibility of a summary judgment motion, so that you can both make sure you get all of the essential evidence on the record in discovery.
Learn more here about what to expect as a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit.
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