Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment Standard in NY

Issue: What factors are to be considered when attempting to meet the standard for summary judgment in New York?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Genuine issue as to any material fact
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 742 N.Y.S.2d 40; 815 N.Y.S.2d 48; 576 N.Y.S.2d 562; 700 N.Y.S.2d 153; 607 N.Y.S.2d 257; 508 N.Y.S.2d 923; 487 N.Y.S.2d 316; 865 N.Y.S.2d 221; 691 N.Y.S.2d 483
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2010

As a threshold matter, a defendant moving for summary judgment must make a prima facie showing of its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issue of fact.  Winegrad v. New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 N.Y.2d 851, 853, 487 N.Y.S.2d 316 (1985); Flores v City of New York, 29 A.D.3d 56, 815 N.Y.S.2d 48, 50 (1st Dep’t 2006).  “Further, on a defendant’s motion for summary judgment, opposed by plaintiff, [the court is] required to accept the plaintiff’s pleadings, as true, and [the] decision must be made on the version of the facts most favorable to plaintiff.”  Henderson v. City of New York, 178 A.D.2d 129, 576 N.Y.S.2d 562, 564 (1st Dep’t 1991) (some punctuation omitted).  In addition, “the non-moving party is entitled to all reasonable inferences in its favor.”  Baseball Office of Commissioner v. Marsh & McLennan, 295 A.D.2d 73, 742 N.Y.S.2d 40, 47 (1st Dep’t 2002). 

Unless the moving defendant meets this formidable burden in the first instance, the nonmoving plaintiff is not compelled to submit any evidence whatsoever.  Alvarez v. Prospect Hosp., 68 N.Y.2d 320, 324, 508 N.Y.S.2d 923, 925 (1986); Hutchinson v. Med. Data Resources Inc., 54 A.D.3d 362, 865 N.Y.S.2d 221, 222 (2d Dep’t 2008).  Stated differently, even without viewing a plaintiff’s evidentiary submissions, summary judgment must be denied if the moving party fails to satisfy its prima facie burden of demonstrating its entitlement to judgment as a […]

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