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What Is Summary Judgment?

In most civil cases in Texas, a petition for summary judgment is always made. Parties commonly submit motions for summary judgment, either to dismiss the whole case or to dismiss certain (but not all) claims or defenses. As a result, practically every Texas civil litigation lawyer will urge an appeal court to uphold or overturn a summary decision. 

A slew of considerations may significantly impact the outcome of a summary judgment when an attorney finds themselves in that situation. Some of the most prevalent problems with summary judgment are addressed in this article.

Is Summary Judgment Good in Texas Lawsuits?

Summary judgments may be requested by either the defendant (entity being sued) or the plaintiff (the one suing). Although a summary judgment favors the one filing lawsuit, it might have a severe negative impact on the opposing party. 

Suppose your opponent files for a summary judgment; your side of the story might get ignored in court. Fortunately, the opposing party has the right to appeal a summary decision in these cases.

How Is Summary Judgment Granted?

Summary judgment is given in the absence of further evidence. There is no possibility of gaining further information from the judge since all of the statements and evidence are already in front of him.

Summary judgment is awarded when the facts may be resolved without the necessity for a trial when the opposing side would lose because of a lack of evidence. If it is not clear that there is no further proof, then summary judgment might be rejected by the court.

Who Can Make a Motion for Summary Judgment?

The plaintiff and the defendant can request a summary judgment in a case. The only thing that counts is the proof submitted to the court.

The burden of proof shifts from you to the defendant if the defendant files a motion for summary judgment. Instead of the plaintiff establishing that they were hurt, the defense must prove that you could not get any proof.

What Is the Summary Judgment Procedure?

The reason for the move for summary judgment must be included in the motion unless granted leave of the court; the motion and any supporting affidavits must be filed and served at least 21 days before the hearing date, with notice to opposing counsel. 

Unless granted leave of court, the adverse party may submit and serve opposing affidavits or other written responses no later than seven days before the hearing date. At the hearing, no oral testimony is accepted.

Here is a detailed procedure of summary judgment:

  • The moving party must pursue summary judgment. The motion is given a hearing date, and the parties are informed.
  • A move for summary judgment is supported by a notation of points and authority, which the moving party submits and serves as the basis for the motion.
  • They argue that there are no facts to prove the claim in court. If there were any, the case would fail. The opposite party might prove triable evidence. It means more than one interpretation of the facts lives or a judgment would be prematurely affected.
  • The judge then considers the arguments and gives the final verdict.
  • In most cases, the case goes to trial if a motion is refused and can’t reach a settlement.
  • If the opposing party does not react or provides an inadequate answer, the matter is likely to be settled in favor of the moving party.

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Evidence

Traditional and no-evidence are the two types of summary judgment motions. Requesting no-evidence summary judgment means telling the judge that no evidence can support any of your opponent’s arguments. Therefore you request the dismissal of the claim before it goes to trial.

The Burden of Evidence

Because your opposing party bears the burden of evidence, you are simply pointing out that the opponent will be unable to fulfill the duty at trial. As a consequence, the claim should be resolved sooner rather than later.

No-Evidence Summary Judgment

As soon as both sides have had an opportunity to ask for discovery replies from the other, you may submit a motion for summary judgment without evidence supporting the other side’s claims or defenses. As the other side asserts a claim, you must go through it and point out exactly where their evidence is either flawed or inadequate.

From the standpoint of the filing party, this has the advantage that no proof is required to be presented. Your opponent must now submit sufficient evidence to argue that the court should allow them to continue to assert that specific claim after you file a request for no-evidence summary judgment.

No evidence summary judgment motion may be granted if a party fails to offer sufficient evidence or does not present any. A move for summary judgment will be granted if such is the case.

Issues That Involve No Evidence Motions for Summary Judgment

What is the most common subject matter for no evidence motions in family law matters? A few instances of this are as follows:

  • When one spouse in a divorce case asks money from the marital inheritance to be reimbursed to the marital estate, this is known as a reimbursement claim.
  • Property disputes in which characterization is being debated. It refers to whether or not a piece of property, retirement benefit, or other entity is categorized as either communal or separate.
  • A court must decide whether the prenuptial agreement is enforced in a divorce lawsuit.

Schedule a Consultation With an Attorney in Texas

A civil lawsuit is one in which there is a disagreement between two parties about something like money or action, but there is no criminal charge involved. A complex civil action may need a trial, even if handled via insurance claims. 

The Buzbee Law Firm’s Texas civil litigation attorneys can assist you with your case if you call our office or email us to set up a time and location that works for you. You will not be charged for our time or services if we can’t get compensation on your behalf.