Summary Judgment

In law, a summary judgment (also judgment as a matter of law) is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, i.e., without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued on the merits of an entire case, or on discrete issues in that case.

In common-law systems, questions about what the law actually is in a particular case are decided by judges; in rare cases jury nullification of the law may act to contravene or complement the instructions or orders of the judge, or other officers of the court. A factfinder has to decide what the facts are and apply the law. In traditional common law the factfinder was a jury, but in many jurisdictions the judge now acts as the factfinder as well. It is the factfinder who decides "what really happened," and it is the judge who applies the law to the facts as determined by the factfinder, whether directly or by giving instructions to the jury.

Absent an award of summary judgment (or some type of pretrial dismissal), a lawsuit will ordinarily proceed to trial, which is an opportunity for litigants to present evidence in an attempt to persuade the factfinder that they are saying "what really happened," and that, under the applicable law, they should prevail.

The necessary steps before a case can get to trial include disclosing documents to the opponent by discovery, showing the other side the evidence, often in the form of witness statements. This process is lengthy, and can be difficult and costly.

A party moving (applying) for summary judgment is attempting to avoid the time and expense of a trial when the outcome is obvious. A party may also move for summary judgement in order to eliminate the risk of losing at trial, and possibly avoid having to go through discovery (i.e., by moving at the outset of discovery), by demonstrating to the judge, via sworn statements and documentary evidence, that there are no material factual issues remaining to be tried. If there's nothing for the factfinder to decide, then the moving party asks rhetorically, why have a trial? The moving party will also attempt to persuade the court that the undisputed material facts require judgment to be entered in its favor. In many jurisdictions, a party moving for summary judgment takes the risk that, although the judge may agree there are no material issues of fact remaining for trial, the judge may also find that it is the non-moving party that is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Other articles related to "summary judgment, judgment":

Daugherty V. Vanguard
... In the court’s summary judgment issued in September 2000, U.S ... Judge McKeague ruled that the allegations were unfounded and granted summary judgment to Vanguard and its parent corporation ... school and National Heritage Academies summary judgment, finding that the defendants “presented no more than a scintilla of evidence to support a finding that any constitutionally impermissible ...
Clatskanie Middle/High School - History - First Amendment Lawsuit
... the coach." The players sued under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and lost on summary judgment at the trial court in 2004 ... On appeal in 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the school district for the actions related to the refusal to ... The court reversed the judgment that had been in favor of the school district concerning the actions in response to the student's petition, as the trial court had used the wrong ...
Association Of Christian Schools International V. Roman Stearns - Decision
... On March 28, 2008 the defendants won a legal victory when their motion for partial summary judgment was granted, and the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was denied ... In part of the judgment, the court focused on several creationist/intelligent design texts and quoted Behe's testimony against the plaintiffs On January 26, 2009 ACSI filed an appeal on the decision ... the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the federal district court's summary judgment in favor of the University of California ...
Summary Judgment - Specific Jurisdictions - England and Wales
... In England and Wales, Part 24 of the Civil Procedure Rules governs the award of summary judgment ... Summary judgment is available in all claims against both the defendant and claimant with the following exceptions ... There may be no summary judgment in possession proceedings against a mortgagor or a person holding over after the end of his tenancy whose occupancy is protected within the meaning of the Rent Act ...
Anderson V. Liberty Lobby, Inc.
... Supreme Court case articulating the standard for a trial court to grant summary judgment ... Summary judgment will lie when, taking all factual inferences in the non-movant's favor, there exists no genuine issue as to a material fact such that the movant deserves judgment as a matter of law ... when reviewing a trial court's grant of summary judgment, Liberty Lobby is the most quoted Supreme Court case ...

Famous quotes containing the words judgment and/or summary:

    Casting an eye on the education of children, from whence I can make a judgment of my own, I observe they are instructed in religious matters before they can reason about them, and consequently that all such instruction is nothing else but filling the tender mind of a child with prejudices.
    George Berkeley (1685–1753)

    Product of a myriad various minds and contending tongues, compact of obscure and minute association, a language has its own abundant and often recondite laws, in the habitual and summary recognition of which scholarship consists.
    Walter Pater (1839–1894)