Legal Memorandum: Appropriateness of Summary Judgment

Issue: Is summary judgment appropriate if the material facts demonstrate that a plaintiff’s claims fail as a matter of law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Material facts; Matter of law
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 462 F.3d 1253; 428 F.3d 933; 477 U.S. 242
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Date: 08/01/2012

Summary judgment is “properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed ‘to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every act.'”  Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986).  Summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).  In applying this standard, the court is compelled to view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party.  Burke v. Utah Transit Auth. & Local 382, 462 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2006).  The rule, however, “mandates the entry of summary judgment . . . against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”  Celotex Corp., 477 U.S at 322 (1986).  There is no “genuine issue” for trial unless “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”  Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material […]

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