Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

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HiiPower2015
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Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby HiiPower2015 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:09 pm

I am a bit confused about the last prong of a Rule 56 for summary judgment. I am beginning to understand how genuine issue of material fact works, but I am confused about entitled to judgment as a matter of law. For instance, if I am trying to oppose a motion for a summary judgment, I should prove that (1) there is a genuine issue of material fact OR (2) even if the facts are true, a reasonable juror could find in favor of me and therefore not entitled to judgment as a matter of law? If that is the case, how does viewing the light most favorable to the plaintiff fit in? If I am trying to argue the second prong, should I assume the non-moving party's facts are true and use that to analyze whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law by looking at the relevant factors/elements of the particular claim?

Hopefully this makes sense, the more I try to read the more confused I'm getting.

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stillwater
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby stillwater » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:04 pm

HiiPower2015 wrote:I am a bit confused about the last prong of a Rule 56 for summary judgment. I am beginning to understand how genuine issue of material fact works, but I am confused about entitled to judgment as a matter of law. For instance, if I am trying to oppose a motion for a summary judgment, I should prove that (1) there is a genuine issue of material fact OR (2) even if the facts are true, a reasonable juror could find in favor of me and therefore not entitled to judgment as a matter of law? If that is the case, how does viewing the light most favorable to the plaintiff fit in? If I am trying to argue the second prong, should I assume the non-moving party's facts are true and use that to analyze whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law by looking at the relevant factors/elements of the particular claim?

Hopefully this makes sense, the more I try to read the more confused I'm getting.


Woah hoss, slow down. If you are opposing a Rule 56 motion, then you would be trying to illustrate there is a genuine issue of material fact. Your (2) is just saying that in a different way. If a juror COULD reasonably find for you, then you have a genuine issue. Because you are the non-moving party (you are opposing the motion), the facts will be construed in the light best for your side.

HiiPower2015
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby HiiPower2015 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:10 pm

What if both parties agree on the facts, should the opposing party then argue that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because a reasonable jury could find in their favor for a certain element?

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stillwater
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby stillwater » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:18 pm

HiiPower2015 wrote:What if both parties agree on the facts, should the opposing party then argue that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because a reasonable jury could find in their favor for a certain element?


if the record is not in dispute, then there is no reason for a fact-finder (i.e. jury). therefore, a judgment as a matter of law can be made and presumably both sides will have moved for sum judg or the losing side will have tried to settle. the jduge will rule accordingly

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:31 pm

stillwater wrote:
HiiPower2015 wrote:What if both parties agree on the facts, should the opposing party then argue that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because a reasonable jury could find in their favor for a certain element?


if the record is not in dispute, then there is no reason for a fact-finder (i.e. jury). therefore, a judgment as a matter of law can be made and presumably both sides will have moved for sum judg or the losing side will have tried to settle. the jduge will rule accordingly

This is correct. If both parties agree on the facts, you need to be arguing that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because under the law, you win. (E.g.: you're suing a police department for using excessive force after arresting you. If the police department moves for summary judgment, and both sides agree on the facts, then you want to argue that those facts constitute excessive force under caselaw x, y, and z. Whereas the police will argue that under caselaw a, b, and c, the facts clearly don't constitute excessive force. In such a case, if you don't win summary judgment, summary judgment will be granted to the police. If you don't agree on the facts, you want to argue that there are disputed issues of fact and it needs to go before the jury to determine the facts. In that case, if the court finds the facts are disputed, it would deny the police's motion for summary judgment and you'd go to trial. If the court finds that the facts aren't disputed, it would either deny the police's motion for summary judgment and grant it in your favor, or grant the police's motion for summary judgment.)

HiiPower2015
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby HiiPower2015 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:35 pm

Just to clarify one last time hopefully, say I am suing a co-worker for sexual harassment and he moves for a motion for summary judgment. I want to first try to find a genuine issue of material fact, such as whether the employer made an inappropriate comment to me because that will be necessary I am sure to fulfill one of the elements. However, if I cannot get that then I need to argue that the co-worker is not entitled to summary judgment because, under the facts most favorable to me, case law supports my assertion that my co-worker sexually assaulted me and therefore he is not entitled to judgment. Is this the proper analysis?

HiiPower2015
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby HiiPower2015 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:36 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
stillwater wrote:
HiiPower2015 wrote:What if both parties agree on the facts, should the opposing party then argue that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because a reasonable jury could find in their favor for a certain element?


if the record is not in dispute, then there is no reason for a fact-finder (i.e. jury). therefore, a judgment as a matter of law can be made and presumably both sides will have moved for sum judg or the losing side will have tried to settle. the jduge will rule accordingly

This is correct. If both parties agree on the facts, you need to be arguing that the moving party is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because under the law, you win. (E.g.: you're suing a police department for using excessive force after arresting you. If the police department moves for summary judgment, and both sides agree on the facts, then you want to argue that those facts constitute excessive force under caselaw x, y, and z. Whereas the police will argue that under caselaw a, b, and c, the facts clearly don't constitute excessive force. In such a case, if you don't win summary judgment, summary judgment will be granted to the police. If you don't agree on the facts, you want to argue that there are disputed issues of fact and it needs to go before the jury to determine the facts. In that case, if the court finds the facts are disputed, it would deny the police's motion for summary judgment and you'd go to trial. If the court finds that the facts aren't disputed, it would either deny the police's motion for summary judgment and grant it in your favor, or grant the police's motion for summary judgment.)


That's exactly what I was confused about, because most cases that I am reading simply merge it together into one test about whether there is a genuine issue of material fact. Thanks

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Jordan77
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Re: Summary Judgment- Entitled To Judgment As A Matter Of Law

Postby Jordan77 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:25 am

Here is how a Judge looks at it. Again, keep in mind that they are only looking at admissible evidence in the record that is introduced through the briefing (i.e., Plf submits an email that constitutes hearsay, Def moves to strike based on hearsay rule --> Judge will not consider the email in evaluating issues of fact)

(1) Is there a genuine issue of material fact?

Example A: Plf says Def did it. Def says he didn't do it. --> Both sides have submitted contraducting evidence --> Genuine issue of fact --> No MSJ.

Example B: Plf and Def both agree that Def did it. (stipulation) --> No genuine issue --> Court is applying the law straight up and will grant one of the cross motions for summary judgment. (Typically seen in declaratory judgment actions where an insurer files the dec action asking the Court to find insurance is precluded based on X Exclusion based on the stipulated (or clear) facts.

But what if the parties agree (stipulate) to the facts involving a negligence action? Both Plf and Def agree that Def did NOT do X, Y and Z (e.g., failed to appraise the value of property for property insurance). Let's say Def is an insurance agent procuring insurance for Plf (the insured). Just because facts are stipulated does not necessarily mean the Court can grant an MSJ. The Court must look at whether they can grant the MSJ because the case law allows them to.

Example C: State law specifically holds insurance agents to the following professional standard of care: "An insurance agent must act with the care, skill and knowledge of a reasonable insurance agent." Well that sure as hell doesn't tell us much. Even though the facts are stipulated... both sides must put their experts on the stand to testify to the jury about whether not doing X, Y and Z constitutes negligence. Ultimately, it is up to the jury to "find" whether the standard of care was breached.

Example D: State law specifically states that an insurance agent does not have a duty to do X, Y and Z. (It carves out specific duties from the very generic duty) Well now the Judge has enough to go on, as a matter of law (the State courts have held no duty), to grant an MSJ. So just because there is no genuine issue of material fact... can the Judge take the next step, AS A MATTER OF LAW. Example C, No. Example D, Yes.




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