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Legal Memorandum: Evaluation of Motions for Summary Judgment

Issue: What is the standard used to evaluate motions for summary judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motions for Summary Judgment; Issues of material fact
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 78 F. Supp. 2d 456
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Date: 05/01/2007

The standard for granting summary judgment is a “stringent” one.  In re Tutu Wells Contamination Litig., 78 F. Supp. 2d 456, 461 (D.V.I. 1999).  Indeed,  a motion for summary judgment is a “drastic remedy” that cannot be granted unless the moving party demonstrates that (1) there is no issue as to any material fact and (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Apalucci v. Agora Syndicate, Inc., 145 F.3d 630, 631 (3d Cir. 1998); Porter v. Samuel, 889 F. Supp. 213, 218 (D.V.I. 1995).

At the summary judgment stage, the court’s function is not to weigh the evidence, determine credibility or decide the truth of a matter; rather, the court is only to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.  Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).  The sole issue is whether there are “any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they reasonably may be resolved in favor of either party.”  In re Tutu Wells, 78 F. Supp. 2d at 460 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250).  In deciding whether there is a disputed issue of material fact, the court must grant all reasonable inferences from the evidence in favor of the nonmoving party.  Serbin v. Bora Corp., 96 F.3d 66, 69 n.2 (3d Cir. 1996).

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