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Legal Memorandum: Granting a Summary Judgment Motion in VI

Issue: Under the laws of the U.S. Virgin Islands, what are the criteria to be weighed in deciding whether or not to grant a motion for summary judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Genuine issues of material fact
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 139 F.3d 386; 754 F. Supp. 57; 477 U.S. 242; 526 U.S. 541; 893 F. Supp. 499
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2004

Summary judgment can only be granted if “there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  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).  A “material fact” is one that will affect the suit’s outcome and a “genuine dispute” of fact exists when a jury could reasonably return a verdict for the non-moving party.  The United States Supreme Court has reconfirmed that “[s]ummary judgment . . . is inappropriate when the evidence is susceptible to different interpretations or inferences by the trier of fact.”  Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 553 (1999) (citing Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255).  Thus, while the nonmoving party must present enough evidence to demonstrate a dispute is genuine, all inferences in interpreting the evidence presented by the parties should be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party.  See, e.g., Boyle v. County of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998).

Furthermore, any doubts regarding the existence of material fact are to be resolved in favor of the nonmoving party.  Meyer v. Riegel Prods. Corp., 720 F.2d 303, 307 (3d Cir. 1983). 

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