Documents and Papers from a Court : Motion for Summary Judgment

What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?
A Motion for Summary Judgment is a document that asks the court to end part or all of the lawsuit without going to trial. This request asks the judge to decide whether the issues in the case are really in dispute under the framework of laws that we follow. If parts or all of the lawsuit do not have legal issues that can be argued, a trial isn’t necessary and the court can eliminate all or parts of the case.

Under what circumstances will a Summary Judgment be granted?
Summary Judgment is granted if the judge finds the following:

  1. There is no genuine issue of material fact that would make a trial necessary.

  2. The party making the Motion for Summary Judgment is entitled to judgment under the law.

  3. The evidence demonstrates that reasonable minds can only conclude in favor of the party filing the Motion for Summary Judgment.

It’s important to remember that, when considering a Motion for Summary Judgment, the court determines whether there are any issues that need to be heard through the trial process. The court doesn’t weigh issues of fact. In fact, when a court considers a Motion for Summary Judgment, the judge views the evidence in a way that is most favorable to the party that has not asked for Summary Judgment. If a court can look at the facts in a way most favorable to the other party and still believes that the party asking for Summary Judgment is entitled to judgment – then the Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted and all or part of the lawsuit will be ended.

What should I do to find out more about a Summary Judgment?
A party should check the local rules of the court that is hearing the lawsuit to decide when a Motion for Summary Judgment can be filed. However, it should be filed at least 14 days or more before a hearing or trial is set. If the party waits and gets too close to the date of a pre-trial conference or trial, the party will have to ask for the court’s permission to file a Motion for Summary Judgment. Once the motion is filed, the other side has 14 days to respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment.

When deciding a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court may review the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence and written stipulations of fact. When opposing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the party must do more than make unfounded allegations. Affidavits that are presented in opposition to a Motion for Summary Judgment must be made on personal knowledge and must give facts that would be admissible as evidence at trial.

If a party doesn’t respond to a Motion for Summary Judgment, the court will likely rule in favor of the motion and enter judgment against the party that remained silent. This likely will result in some or all of the case being dismissed.

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This content was created by the Ohio State Bar Foundation's 2006 Fellows Class - Keys to the Courtroom Project.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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