Legal Memorandum: Appropriateness of Summary Judgment

Issue: Under the laws of the U.S. Virgin Islands, what is the standard used to determine whether summary judgment is appropriate?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Appropriateness; Genuine issues of material fact
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 139 F.3d 386; 974 F.2d 1358; 754 F. Supp. 57; 477 U.S. 242; 893 F. Supp. 499
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Date: 05/01/2007

Under Virgin Islands law, when a defendant files a motion for summary judgment, the defendant must make a showing that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Harris v. V.I. Hous. Auth., 27 V.I. 61, 65 (Terr. Ct. 1992).  Summary judgment may only be granted “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).  Accord Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Clint Aero, Inc. v. Ground Servs., Inc., 25 V.I. 446, 448, 754 F. Supp. 57, 58 (D.V.I. 1990); Mingolla v. Minn. Mining & Mfg., 893 F. Supp. 499 (D.V.I. 1995). 

The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing the basis for dismissal.  Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).  When the court decides a motion for summary judgment, it must draw all reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, and may not consider the credibility or weight of evidence.  Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992).

Summary judgment remains an extreme remedy that should not be granted […]

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