Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment Standard

Issue: What is the standard for summary judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; No genuine issue as to any material fact; Judgment as a matter of law
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 477 U.S. 242
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)
Date: 12/01/2008

Because summary judgment is such a “drastic remedy” the applicable standard requires that the motion not be granted unless “the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  Williams v. United Corp., Civ. No. 2007-118, 2008 WL 2714211, at *2 (V.I. July 10, 2008) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). 

Initially, the summary judgment movant has a burden to “point out” to the court that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case.  Id.  If that burden is met, then the nonmoving party has the burden of “set[ting] out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.”  Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)).  “As to materiality, only those facts that ‘might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.'”  Id. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).

When reviewing the record, the court must view the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must take the non-moving party’s conflicting allegations as true if properly supported.  Id. (citing Seales v. Devine, Civ. No. 2007-040, 2008 WL 901528, at *1 (V.I. Mar. 3, 2008).  To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party’s evidence must “amount to more than […]

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