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Legal Memorandum: Standard for Summary Judgment in AZ

Issue: What is the standard for summary judgment under Arizona law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary Judgment; Genuine issue as to any material fact
Jurisdiction: Arizona
Cited Cases: 193 Ariz. 336; 166 Ariz. 301; 972 P.2d 669
Cited Statutes: Ariz. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)
Date: 03/01/2007

Summary judgment may be granted only “if the pleadings, deposition, 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 a judgment as a matter of law.”  Ariz. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).  Thus, there are, in essence two requirements that the movant must meet in order for summary judgment to be granted:  (1) there must be an absence of any genuine issue as to the material facts in the case, and (2) the movant must be entitled to judgment as a matter of the applicable law. 

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the facts and reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.  Link v. Pima County, 193 Ariz. 336, 340, 972 P.2d 669, 673 (Ct. App. 1998).  Summary judgment should not be used as a substitute for jury trials, even if the trial judge believes the moving party will probably win the jury’s verdict, nor even if the trial judge believes the moving party should win the jury’s verdict.  Orme School v. Reeves, 166 Ariz. 301, 310, 802 P.2d 1000, 1009 (1990).  At the summary judgment stage, the role of the court is merely to determine whether there is evidence that could reasonably be believed in determining whether a genuine issue for trial exists.  […]

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