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Legal Memorandum: Standard for Summary Judgment

Issue: What is the standard for summary judgment in the Third Circuit?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Burden of the moving party; Absence of genuine issues of material
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2005

The party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate both the absence of any genuine issues of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Celotex Corp. v Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).  “This burden remains with the moving party regardless of which party would have the burden of persuasion at trial.”  Aman v. Cort Furniture Rental Corp., 85 F.3d 1074, 1080 (3d Cir. 1996). 

When determining whether the moving party has carried this burden, the facts asserted by the non-moving party, supported by evidentiary material, must be regarded as true.  Id. at 1080.  All inferences to be drawn from such underlying facts “must be viewed in light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.”  Id. at 1080-81.  Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial should be resolved against the moving party.  Celotex, 477 U.S. at 330 n.2. 

“Viewed under this lens, if there is any evidence in the record from any source from which a reasonable inference in the nonmoving party’s favor may be drawn, the moving party simply cannot obtain a summary judgment.”  Aman, 85 F.3d at 1081 (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 330 n.2) (internal punctuation omitted).

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