Legal Memorandum: Standards for Granting a Summary Judgment

Issue: When should the court grant summary judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; No genuine issue as to any material fact; Entitled to judgment as a matter of law
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 974 F.2d 1358; 523 N.W.2d 133; 501 N.W.2d 508; 821 A.2d 762; 490 F. Supp. 935; 579 N.W.2d 115; 540 A.2d 871; 477 U.S. 317; 372 F.3d 188; 105 Cal. Rptr. 505; 849 So. 2d 263; 729 A.2d 1227; 930 P.2d 661; 893 F.2d 629; 926 So. 2d 415; 960 S.W.2d 781
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Date: 08/01/2006

Summary judgment may be granted “if the pleadings, depositions, 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 judgment as a matter of law.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).  Under this standard, the Court must “determine whether the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant, shows there are genuine issues of material fact in dispute which would permit a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party.”  Tavarez v. Klingensmith, 267 F. Supp. 2d 448, 450 (D.V.I. 2003), aff’d, 372 F.3d 188 (3d Cir. 2004).  Although the party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing the basis for dismissal, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986), the non-moving party must present sufficient evidence “to establish the existence of [each] element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial,” id. at 322. 

When the court decides a motion for summary judgment, it draws reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, and does not consider the credibility or weight of evidence.  Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992).  “Only evidence admissible at trial shall be considered.”  Mahogany Run Condominium Association v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, Civil […]

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