Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment Burden in AL

Issue: In Alabama, How Must a Corporate Party Meet Its Initial Summary Judgment Burden?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Company; Legal fraud
Jurisdiction: Alabama
Cited Cases: 941 F.2d 1428; 667 So. 2d 653; 613 So. 2d 1216; 762 So. 2d 373; 93 F. Supp. 2d 1201
Cited Statutes: Ala. Code §§ 6-5-100, -101, -103 and -104, § 6-5-101; Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Date: 10/01/2000

To entitle a company to summary judgment on a claim, a company must initially point out to the Court that there is an absence of evidence to support Plaintiffs’ claim or, alternatively, that there is evidence that demonstrates that Plaintiffs will be unable to prove their case at trial.  See Fitzpatrick, 2 F.3d at 1116. Summary judgment may be granted only when the moving party demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Pennington v. City of Huntsville, 93 F. Supp. 2d 1201, 1205 (N.D. Ala. 2000).  The district court must resolve all reasonable doubts about the facts in favor of the nonmovant and draw all justifiable inferences in his or her favor.  United States v. Four Parcels of Real Property, 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991).

An action for “legal fraud” is brought expressly pursuant to Ala. Code §§ 6-5-100, -101, -103 and -104.  See Jewell v. Seaboard Indus., Inc., 667 So. 2d 653, 657 (Ala .1995).

Under § 6-5-101  “legal fraud” includes misrepresentations of material fact made even by mistake or innocently, as well as those made recklessly or with the purpose to deceive.  Jewell, 667 So. 2d at 657.  Arguments premised on the elements of promissory fraud and relying on promissory estoppel cases, can be found in Hinkle v. Cargill, Inc., […]

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