Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment and Burden of Proof

Issue: In Texas, does a summary judgment movant bear the burden of establishing the existence of material facts?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Burden of establishing; No genuine issue as to any material fact
Jurisdiction: Texas
Cited Cases: 669 S.W.2d 309; 922 S.W.2d 928; 531 S.W.2d 589; 358 S.W.2d 557; 601 S.W.2d 112; 488 S.W.2d 64; 941 S.W.2d 910; 899 S.W.2d 709; 252 S.W.2d 929; 589 S.W.2d 849; 924 S.W.2d 375; 547 S.W.2d 954; 239 S.W.2d 422; 690 S.W.2d 546; 611 S.W.2d 622; 163 Tex. 618
Cited Statutes: Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a, 166(c); 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Date: 07/01/2000

Rule 166a of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provides the method by which parties may summarily terminate a case by moving for summary judgment.  Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. v. Steel, 997 S.W.2d 217, 222 (Tex. 1999); Gulbenkian v. Penn, 151 Tex. 412, 416, 252 S.W.2d 929, 931 (1952).  Under the rule, summary judgment will be rendered if the deposition transcripts, interrogatory answers, and other discovery responses and the pleadings, admissions, affidavits, stipulations of the parties, and authenticated or certified records “show that, except as to the amount of damages, there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issues expressly set out in the motion or in an answer or any other response.”  Tex. R. Civ. P. 166(c).

Rule 166a is adopted from Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and has been construed to allow summary judgment “only when there is no disputed fact issue.”  Gulbenkian, 151 Tex. at 416, 252 S.W.2d at 931; see also Rhone-Poulenc, 997 S.W.2d at 222 (Rule 166a provides a method of terminating a case “when it clearly appears that only a question of law is involved and there is no genuine fact issue”) (citing Swilley v. Hughes, 488 S.W.2d 64, 68 (Tex. 1972)); Gaines v. Hamman, 163 Tex. 618, 626, 358 S.W.2d 557, 563 (1962) (purpose of summary judgment is to terminate […]

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