What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?
After the discovery phase of a lawsuit (and, at times, during discovery), one or both parties will file a Motion for Summary Judgment. This is a motion asking the judge to look at all the evidence in the record and issue a ruling that one party is entitled to win all or part of their case. If successful, a motion for summary judgment will take the case (or a part of it) away from any potential jury trial and end that part of the claim or defense. As can be seen, these motions can be a highly effective tool in litigation. The experienced Marietta personal injury lawyers at our firm have successfully handled these motions – both filing them and defending against them – for years.
The appropriate standard for a judge considering a motion for summary judgment was stated by the Georgia Supreme Court in Lau’s Corp, Inc. v. Haskins:
“To prevail at summary judgment under OCGA § 9-11-56, the moving party must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the undisputed facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, warrant judgment as a matter of law. OCGA § 9-11-56(c). A defendant may do this by showing the court that the documents, affidavits, depositions and other evidence in the record reveal that there is no evidence sufficient to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff’s case. If there is no evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue as to any essential element of plaintiff’s claim, that claim tumbles like a house of cards. All of the other disputes of fact are rendered immaterial. See, e.g., Holiday Inns, Inc. v. Newton, 157 Ga. App. 436, 278 S.E.2d 85 (1981). A defendant who will not bear the burden of proof at trial need not affirmatively disprove the nonmoving party’s case; instead, the burden on the moving party may be discharged by pointing out by reference to the affidavits, depositions and other documents in the record that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case. If the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but rather must point to specific evidence giving rise to a triable issue.
Lau’s Corp., Inc. v. Haskins, 261 Ga. 491, 405 S.E.2d 474, 475-76 (1991) (emphasis added).”
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court may consider “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any” in its determination of whether there exist any genuine issues of material fact and whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.
If you are an injured party in litigation, you need an experience Marietta personal injury lawyer. Only a skilled trial lawyer has the ability to properly protect your claim that can easily be dismissed forever if your claim is not successfully defended against the motion for summary judgment. Our firm has spent years regularly defending their clients injury claims in these circumstances. A plaintiff losing their motion for summary judgement can mean that the case is over immediately with no hope of ever recovering any compensation. This can happen regardless of how catastrophically the plaintiff has been injured or even in wrongful death cases. Your case is far too important to risk hiring any attorney that is not experienced like Marietta personal injury attorneys at The Strickland Firm.
The Marietta personal injury attorneys at The Strickland Firm can help you understand your options going forward, and protect your rights if trial becomes necessary. Contact the offices today for a free consultation.