It is easy to get confused with legal jargon in the middle of a lawsuit. A good term to know is “Summary Judgement.” Your lawyer may advise you to move for Summary Judgement, or the opposing party may file one against you. If you know what this term means, you will be better prepared to make an informed decision.
It is most common for the party being sued, the Defendant, to submit a Motion for Summary Judgement, but the Plaintiff, the party that files the suit, may submit this as well. Filing this Motion is a request to “move” the court in a certain direction. The party that decides to move for summary judgement is known as the “Mover.”
The purpose of a summary judgement is to resolve a case before going to trial, which could save time and money. A Motion for Summary Judgement can be filed at any time up to 30 days after the close of discovery (FRCP 56(b)). To state it simply, this Motion states that there is no dispute of material fact, meaning no further Discovery or evidence is needed, it is a matter of law that the judge may decide based on the presented facts.
The judge will review the Motion and documents provided. A Motion for Summary Judgement will be accepted if there are no disputed facts. However, if the request is denied, the case will continue to trial. If there are no disputed facts, the judge can make a declaration settling the law in question. Both sides will present their best case law, statutes, and evidence to persuade the judge in their favor. If the judge accepts the Motion for Summary Judgement and rules on the case without going to trial, the ruling can be made with or without prejudice. When the decision is made without prejudice, this means that the losing party can try to argue the case again in the same court and jurisdiction. A case that is ruled upon with prejudice can also be appealed, but the losing party must prove that the judge did not apply the law correctly.
These are the essentials of what to know when you hear the term “Summary Judgement.” Your attorney will be able to help you to make the best decisions as you move forward with the case. At Sumsion Business Law, we have years of experience helping clients to navigate their way through difficult situations. If you would like to meet with one of our attorneys to learn more about how we can help you, please enter your contact information below, and we will be with you shortly.