Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment in FL

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

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; No genuine issue as to any material fact; Judgment as a matter of law
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 650 So. 2d 644; 675 So. 2d 687
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2000

Summary judgment “should not be granted unless the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with 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.”  Hervey v. Alfonso, 650 So. 2d 644, 645 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995). When a party moves for summary judgment, it has the burden of proving that there is no genuine issue of material fact.  Besco USA Int’l Corp. v. Home Sav. of Am. FSB, 675 So. 2d 687, 688 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996).

If the “slightest doubt exists as to a presence of an issue of fact, then summary judgment cannot be granted.”  Id. at 688 (citations omitted).  Even where the facts are uncontroverted, summary judgment is appropriate only if one inference may reasonably be drawn from those facts.  Hervey, 650 So. 2d at 646.  In addition, when considering whether a motion for summary judgment should be granted, the court must draw every inference in favor of the non-moving party.  Besco, 675 So. 2d at 688. 

The non-moving party is only required to show the existence of genuine issues of material fact if the moving party first successfully meets its burden of irrefutably proving that the non-moving party cannot prevail.  Hervey, 650 So. 2d at 646. 


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