ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Summary Judgment?

Updated on February 18, 2010

Summary Judgment, in law, a means of obtaining a judgment in a civil lawsuit where there appears to be no triable issue. This avoids waiting the usual period of months, or even years, for the case to be reached on the regular trial calendar. The procedure is often used in the United States in both state and federal courts. It was developed to prevent a defendant who had no defense from delaying judgment (often in an effort to put his property out of reach of the plaintiff) by filing a sham answer and demanding a jury trial. The procedure was later expanded to include the much rarer case in which the defendant proved that a plaintiff had stated a sham claim for some ulterior purpose.

Defenses: Sham or in Good Faith?

In a typical case, the plaintiff who claims a right to an immediate judgment without waiting for the case to be reached on the regular trial calendar makes a motion for a summary judgment. It is not enough for the plaintiff merely to charge that the other party's defense is without merit; to expose a sham denial he must first produce evidence, usually by means of affidavits, tending to prove that the facts alleged in his own statement are probably true. If the defendant making the denial produces evidence tending to show that the facts adduced by the plaintiff are not true, the motion is denied and the case must await its turn on the trial calendar. If, however, the defendant does not produce evidence to support his denial, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

In order to expose a sham statement of claim or defense, the party making the motion must produce evidence tending to prove that the other side's statement is false. If he fails, the motion is denied, and the case must be tried in regular course. If he succeeds, the party making the statement must then produce evidence to support its truth. If no such proof is forthcoming, judgment will be rendered immediately.

Basis for Summary Judgment

In summary judgment proceedings, supporting and opposing affidavits must be made on personal knowledge by persons competent to testify and must contain facts admissible in evidence. Generally a summary judgment is justified only if no material issue of fact survives the pleadings, affidavits, and depositional proof. If questions of fact appear, a trial is required.

English and American Legislation

Application of an 1855 English statute on summary judgments was limited to action on bills of exchange and promissory notes. Before the adoption in 1938 of the federal rules of civil procedure for the district courts of the United States, summary judgment procedure was not available in all types of cases. The first provision in California, for example, authorized the procedure only "in an action to recover upon a debt or upon a liquidated demand including an action to enforce or foreclose a lien or mortgage." The federal rules were the first to provide that the procedure should be available in every type of action without restriction.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)