What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?

28 Jul

If you are in litigation in Tennessee, depending on which side you are on, your attorney may be writing a Motion for Summary Judgment or writing a Response to a Motion for Summary Judgment.  But, what does that mean?

In both federal and state law, the respective Constitutions give litigants a right to jury trial.  A jury decides the facts.  The judge is empowered to decide the law.

There is considerable changing case law on the subject; however, essentially, a Motion for Summary Judgment looks to whether there is a "genuine issue as to material fact."  If there is / are genuine issue(s) to material fact, then the Motion for Summary Judgment is usually denied, and the case moves on to jury trial.  If there is / are no genuine issue(s) as to material fact, then the trial court judge can dismiss the case on Summary Judgment.

This doesn't violate the Constitution(s) and provides the judicial system with an efficient mechanism to handle cases that need to go to the jury and those that don't.

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