One of the more significant events during the course of litigation is a motion for summary judgment. Summary judgment is a motion to the court for a determination on a case without a full trial. Summary judgment may be issued on part of the issues concerning the lawsuit or it can apply to the entire case.
The moving party must make a motion to the court and demonstrate that there are no material facts in dispute between the parties. If there are no genuine issues of material fact remaining for trial, then the court can issue determinations as a matter of law.
Practically speaking, summary judgment is a barrier which the plaintiff must overcome to be able to go to trial. It also protects defendants from having to spend unnecessary time and effort defending against a lawsuit that has little to no merit.
If the court grants a summary judgment motion, it has the same effect as if the moving party were successful at trial. Thus, if the plaintiff is granted summary judgment, they will have a judgment that can be executed against the defendant’s property. If the defendant is granted summary judgment, then the case is dismissed and the plaintiff loses the lawsuit. If the court grants a partial summary judgment, then the case must proceed to trial on those issues unresolved by the court’s decision.