Summary Judgment

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swtlilsoni
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Summary Judgment

Postby swtlilsoni » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:34 am

If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?

uvabro
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby uvabro » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:01 am

swtlilsoni wrote:If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?

Civ pro is my worst class and id settle for median there..... but its a genuine issue of fact. if he's trying to prove fraud which requires a heightened pleading standard, and has one set of facts where he has a ten percent shot and another where d has a 99 percent shot than summary judgment is warranted.

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Icculus
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby Icculus » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:05 am

The idea behind looking at the facts in a light most favorable to the non moving party has to do with the idea of a genuine issue of material fact, which is different than a different set of facts. It is highly possible that the facts of a case could be looked at in two different ways, yet in neither situation is there an genuine issue of material fact/

For example, if it's a suit for breach of contract the genuine issue of material fact may be whether there was a valid or contract, or whether there was breach. It is quite possible that the facts could be viewed in several different ways, but in every way the facts are viewed no contract was established thus summary judgment on that fact would be warranted.

Does this help at all? Sorry I couldn't be a bit clearer but it is a Friday night.

Edit: Think of it this way. Even if everything the non moving party says is true, there is still no question as to the ultimate fact of the case. It's like a 12(b)(6) motion where even if everything the non moving part says is true there is no claim.

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jetissent
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby jetissent » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:13 am

swtlilsoni wrote:If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?


The point is basically that if the Def is moving for SJ he is arguing that even if the court accepts all of the P's evidence as fact, the P still cannot recover. For example, in a negligence claim, if the P submits evidence to support causation and damages, but does not convince the court that the D owed the P a duty, it will fail on summary judgment because any issues in fact that might be in doubt vis-a-via cause or damages are immaterial if there is no duty.

Maybe that's a poor example since duty is more likely to be an issue during motion to dismiss but the point is, if after discovery the P cannot raise an issue of material fact (a fact critical to their claim that the D seeks to refute) for each required (or one sufficient) part of their case they probably won't survive a motion for SJ.

Lastly, pay Barbri 50 bucks and watch the Freer CP lectures, he is amazing.

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noleknight16
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby noleknight16 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:59 am

jetissent wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:Lastly, pay Barbri 50 bucks and watch the Freer CP lectures, he is amazing.


I got 6 days till my Civ Pro exam. Worth doing still? I could definitely use some Civ Pro help

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jetissent
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby jetissent » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:21 am

Absolutely. It's 6 hours long, I broke into two 3 hour sessions and just build my outline from his lecture. He focuses on how to take a CP exam. Rather than the purpose, history, or theory of CP. Nice way to quickly clarify the rules and get a glimps of what is likely to be tested.

nucky thompson
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby nucky thompson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:51 am

STEP 1: what is the legal theory P is trying to recover under? - Look at the elements. Any fact that is used to support or undermine the legal theory is a material fact.

NOTE: SJ motions can be successful even if there is a dispute as to facts. But, if that factual dispute is not relevant to the legal theory, it does not matter. -- Look at Slaven v. City of Salem -- P was suing city under theory of negligence after her brother killed himself in jail. Dispute of facts over whether her brother was wearing a belt (the belt was used to hang himself) or not. Court found this fact immaterial, because the neg theory holds D liable only if D knew or should have known of the victims suicidal tendencies - thus belt/no belt is immaterial with respect to D's liability

STEP 2: Look at the evidence on record to see what can support movants SJ motion - Note: Look at 56(c)(1) to to know what the evidence will be examined -

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
---56(c)(4) - ONLY personal knowledge (eyeball witnesses etc) affidavits/declarations are in the record when making SJ motion

(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

STEP 3: Now that we know which facts are material, and what evidence is in the record to support such facts - is there a dispute? -- Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial

TooOld4This
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:50 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:
Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?


No, because if the judge assumes the non-moving party's theory of the facts are true and there is still no legal theory under which that party wins, then the facts under dispute are not material.

If the judge assumes that the disputed facts supported by the record are true and the non-moving party does have a viable claim, then SJ will be denied, because material facts are in dispute.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby swtlilsoni » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:05 am

So you guys are basically saying that the judge looks at the facts in the light favorable to the non moving party, and THEN decides if there is a dispute?
But wouldn't that look like this:

Step 1: moving party moves for summary judgment
Step 2: there are two versions of the facts
Step 3: judge adopts the view most favorable to the non moving party
Step 4: judge checks if there is a genuine dispute of material fact
Step 5: if judge finds a dispute, then summary judgment is dismissed

But why would we need to wait to step 5 to dismiss it? look at step 2, since there are two versions of the facts, wouldnt we be able to dismiss it at step 2 itself?

nucky thompson
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby nucky thompson » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:54 am

swtlilsoni wrote:So you guys are basically saying that the judge looks at the facts in the light favorable to the non moving party, and THEN decides if there is a dispute?
But wouldn't that look like this:

Step 1: moving party moves for summary judgment
Step 2: there are two versions of the facts
Step 3: judge adopts the view most favorable to the non moving party
Step 4: judge checks if there is a genuine dispute of material fact
Step 5: if judge finds a dispute, then summary judgment is dismissed

But why would we need to wait to step 5 to dismiss it? look at step 2, since there are two versions of the facts, wouldnt we be able to dismiss it at step 2 itself?



I had three steps. (1) look at law, know what facts are material (2) look at evidence on record to know what the facts for each party are (3) Dismiss if there is a genuine dispute of material fact
-->there is a genuine issue of material fact if based on that record, (in your hypo, where there are two versions of the facts supported by the evidence) a reasonable jury could rule for the non moving party


The looking at the facts in light most favorable to the non moving party just means that the judge will make reasonable inferences based off the evidence when deciding if there is a dispute (think circumstantial evidence etc.)

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minnbills
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby minnbills » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:04 am

swtlilsoni wrote:If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?


Well I think Scalia's point in Scott was that there was only one version of the facts.

Anyways, when a Court is considering a motion for summary judgment, they're not looking at the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. On appeal, of course, they do.

EDIT: maybe I'm totally off base here. But I don't think the "light most favorable" part applies when summary judgment is first considered just before trial. I think it only comes into play on appeal.

MonsterTRM
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby MonsterTRM » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:18 am

swtlilsoni wrote:If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?


Scalia basically contends there's no genuine issue. Quite honestly, Scott v. Harris is a weird case for Summary Judgment because it gives the judge the ability to make a determination now that used to be reserved for the jury. The SJ trilogy gives the main rules, then distinguish them with Scott v. Harris.

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Icculus
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby Icculus » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:18 am

minnbills wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:If there is a genuine issue to a material fact, summary judgment is not warranted.

In Scott v. Harris it says that if there are two versions of the facts, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party when deciding summary judgment.

But my question is...
If there are two versions of the facts, wouldn't that itself constitute a genuine issue of material fact? So then summary judgment would not be warranted in the first place.
So what is the point of that clause that the judge must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving party? Because if the judge ever has to decide which way to view the facts, that itself means that there IS a genuine issue and summary judgment should automatically be denied?


Well I think Scalia's point in Scott was that there was only one version of the facts.

Anyways, when a Court is considering a motion for summary judgment, they're not looking at the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. On appeal, of course, they do.

EDIT: maybe I'm totally off base here. But I don't think the "light most favorable" part applies when summary judgment is first considered just before trial. I think it only comes into play on appeal.


It applies during trial as well not just on appeal.

TooOld4This
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:34 am

swtlilsoni wrote:So you guys are basically saying that the judge looks at the facts in the light favorable to the non moving party, and THEN decides if there is a dispute?
But wouldn't that look like this:

Step 1: moving party moves for summary judgment
Step 2: there are two versions of the facts
Step 3: judge adopts the view most favorable to the non moving party
Step 4: judge checks if there is a genuine dispute of material fact
Step 5: if judge finds a dispute, then summary judgment is dismissed

But why would we need to wait to step 5 to dismiss it? look at step 2, since there are two versions of the facts, wouldnt we be able to dismiss it at step 2 itself?


You are ignoring the word "material."

There can be all kinds of disputes in facts that have no bearing on SJ. "Light most favorable" is a way of determining/demonstrating the materiality of facts. If, even under the non-moving party's version of the facts, they still lose as a matter of law, then the facts in dispute are not material. Change your step 4 to "judge determines, as a mater of law, whether the non-moving party has a viable claim." Step 5 would then be, "if viable legal theory exists, then facts in dispute are material and SJ is dismissed."

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dingbat
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Re: Summary Judgment

Postby dingbat » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:33 am

An easy way to explain it is with the following, ridiculous, example. D asks for summary judgment of murder conviction. Disputed fact is whether the sky was clear blue or had two small fluffy clouds. Obviously the disputed fact is irrelevant and will not affect the outcome.




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