Motion For Summary Judgment Standard in Florida Explained

Motion for summary judgment FloridaIn a legal dispute, motions are used to bring a case to a certain conclusion. This can be used to ask a judge to rule in a certain way, dismiss a case, or ask for a summary judgment.

Motions for summary judgment in Florida (found under Fla R Civ P 1.510) are used to bring a case to a close or move a case to the next step in the process. However, there have been some changes to rule 1.510, and we’re here to break it all down for you.

What is the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510?

The Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510 can be traced back to 1966 (Holl, 191 So. 2d at 43) with the intent of streamlining the process of bringing a case to a close.

This rule is used in two different situations: to either rule in favor of the plaintiff or in favor of the defendant. Both scenarios use a similar format, but they have different goals.

Rule 1.510 is typically used with the goal to move a case forward within the legal system, and the end goal is to get a ruling on a particular issue. In this scenario, one party files a motion for summary judgment in an attempt to have the case ruled a certain way.

For example, if the plaintiff files a motion for summary judgment, they ask the judge to rule in their favor. This means that the judge will rule that the plaintiff is entitled to certain things such as money or property. The plaintiff is trying to get the judge to rule in their favor so that they do not have to go through a lengthy trial.

On the other hand, the defendant may file a motion for summary judgment to get the case dismissed. The defendant is trying to get the case ruled in their favor.

Now, it’s essential to understand that there is a difference between a motion to dismiss vs motion for summary judgment.

A motion to dismiss is used when a party tries to get a case thrown out. This is often used when there isn’t enough proof to continue with a case. This document is less complicated than a motion for summary judgment per Florida law, and it only requires the facts of the case. The moving party will argue why the case should be dismissed, and then they’ll provide any additional evidence that supports their argument.

What is a Motion for Summary Judgment Per Florida Law

A motion for summary judgment under Florida law is a document that’s ultimately used to bring a case to a close or move it forward within the legal system. It’s a way for one party to request that the court rule on a particular issue in a case.

The format of a motion for summary judgment in Florida will vary based on the rules being used, but the goal is typically the same. While the format may be the same, the purpose of each motion for summary judgment is unique. This means that the legal requirements for each motion can also be different.

For example, a motion for summary judgment per Florida law will require additional information, such as the facts of the case and the legal reasons for why the court should rule in the moving party’s favor. This will help the judge better understand the situation and make an informed decision.

What is Motion for Summary Judgment in a Civil Case?

A motion for summary judgment in a civil case is a motion to essentially dismiss the case. This can be used when a party doesn’t think that the case should have been brought at all or doesn’t think that the other party has enough evidence to prove their case.

This is different from a standard motion for summary judgment because it doesn’t require a detailed explanation of the case. Instead, it simply requires proof that the other party doesn’t have enough evidence to prove their case.

New Florida Summary Judgment Standard: What’s Changed?

In the past, the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510 was considered very stringent. That’s because the party moving for summary judgment was required to meet the burden of proof and show that there was no legal argument to be made.

This meant that a party had to have a great deal of evidence in their favor to meet the Rule’s requirements. Many argued that this prevented just and speedy trials and led to a lot of back and forth between the parties.

The Florida summary judgment standard was then compared to the Federal Rule, which doesn’t require a motion for summary judgment based on proof. This meant that a party was only required to make a legal argument regarding a particular issue in order to move the case forward. This is a much simpler standard that many courts across the United States have employed.            

The Florida Supreme Court decided to change the Rule to make it more in line with federal courts. Effective May 1, 2021, the new Rule will only require a party to make a legal argument regarding a particular issue. This means that, according to Federal Rule 56. Summary Judgment Standard, “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

This means that the party won’t have to prove without a shadow of a doubt the existence of a particular fact in order to move the case forward. However, they must still support their assertion by:

  • citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
  • showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Simply put, this means that “the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment.” (Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.)

What Happens at a Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing?

A motion for summary judgment hearing is held to determine whether the party seeking summary judgment has met its burden. The party being asked to respond to the motion will have an opportunity to argue that the other party has not met the necessary requirements.

The judge will then consider the parties’ arguments, and the evidence presented and decide whether the party moving for summary judgment has met their burden. If they have, the judge will sign an order that prevents the party being asked to respond to the motion from further arguing the issue in question.

When to File a Motion for Summary Judgment

A party should file a motion for summary judgment when it believes that the other party does not have enough evidence to support its case.

The party moving for summary judgment is often in a stronger position to do this, as they have already gathered a large amount of evidence in their favor. This can often mean that the party being asked to respond to the motion will only need to engage in a legal argument regarding a particular issue.                

This can significantly shorten the length of a case, as additional evidence can often be used to show that a particular fact exists or doesn’t exist.

It is important to note that a motion for summary judgment does not guarantee that the judge will issue an order that prevents the other party from continuing to argue the issue in question. This is entirely dependent on the judge and the facts of the case.

Can you File a Motion for Summary Judgment in Florida Before Discovery?

A party may move for summary judgment before the discovery phase of a case. This means that, instead of waiting for the other party to provide a response to the lawsuit, the party may move the case forward by presenting the necessary evidence.

This is an excellent way for parties to avoid the costs and delays of discovery, especially when they are confident that they have a strong case.

However, to move forward with a motion for summary judgment, a party must first file a summons and complaint with the court. This serves as a formal notification to the other party that they are being sued. Once this is complete, the party may move forward with their motion.

Can You File Multiple Motions for Summary Judgment in Florida?

Yes, you can file multiple motions for summary judgment in Florida.

A party can file multiple motions for summary judgment. This can be beneficial for various reasons, such as when a party has identified numerous facts that support their argument.

Instead of using a motion for summary judgment that includes all of the facts, a party may choose to file multiple motions for summary judgment, each of which addresses a particular fact. This allows the party to argue various lines of reasoning and provides the judge with the opportunity to consider one.

This will also enable the party to argue the strength of their case better, as they will have the opportunity to highlight the different arguments they have made.                    

However, it is essential to note that multiple motions for summary judgment may cause a delay in the case.

Response to Motion for Summary Judgment

A response to motion for summary judgment is a formal response to the motion filed by the party moving for summary judgment. In this document, the party being asked to respond to the motion will discuss each argument presented in the motion for summary judgment.

The party being asked to respond to the motion for summary judgment should take the opportunity to review the evidence that was presented in support of the motion for summary judgment and then provide a response to each argument.

This is usually done by either objecting to the argument by stating that the evidence presented is insufficient to support the argument or by stating that the information provided is incorrect and should be removed from the motion.

The party responding to the motion will need to prove that the plaintiff’s allegations are false. This can be done by providing additional evidence that shows that the fact in question does not exist or by providing evidence that the allegations have been misinterpreted. If the allegations have been misinterpreted, you will need to provide additional facts that support their argument.

Time to Respond to Motion Summary for Judgment

The time to respond to a motion summary for judgment is 20 days after the motion is filed. During this time, the party being asked to respond to the motion should gather any documents that will be relevant to their response and send them to the court.

It is crucial to respond to a motion for summary judgment as quickly as possible. If a party fails to respond to a motion for summary judgment within the required time frame, a judge may rule in favor of the party that filed the motion. This will prevent the party from further arguing the issue in question.

What Happens If the Motion Is Granted Per Fla R Civ P 1.510?

When a motion is granted per Fla R Civ P 1.510, it means that the party moving for summary judgment has been successful. This means that the judge has agreed that the party has presented sufficient evidence to support their argument and will result in an automatic judgment in favor of the party who filed the motion.

Settlement After Summary Judgment Granted

After a motion for summary judgment is granted, the parties can settle the case through a stipulation of dismissal. This is a formal agreement between parties stating that the case is dismissed without a judge’s legal ruling. This will result in the case being dismissed, with or without prejudice.

If the parties cannot settle their case, the case will move to the next phase. During this phase, the parties will present their closing arguments and then wait for the judge to issue a final ruling.

What Happens When a Summary Judgment Is Denied to The Plaintiff?

When the plaintiff is unable to produce the necessary evidence to support their claims, then a motion for summary judgment can be denied. Should this be the case and the plaintiff be denied summary judgment, the plaintiff will then have the opportunity to file an amended complaint with the court.

The court will allow the plaintiff to provide additional facts that support their claim during this time. The plaintiff will then have the opportunity to respond to the additional evidence that the other party has provided.

A plaintiff may be denied summary judgment under Florida law in several circumstances, including:

  • The inability to provide supporting factual positions: This can be the result of the plaintiff’s failure to retain certain evidence or the result of the failure to gather sufficient facts to support their argument.
  • The fact is not supported by admissible evidence: This can be the result of the inability to provide legal documents that prove the existence of the fact in question or the result of the misinterpretation of evidence that is admissible.    
  • Materials are not correctly cited: This can be the result of the failure to cite the relevant legal statutes in your complaint or the result of misinterpreting the law that applies to your case.   

How to Defeat the Motion to Amend Final Judgment in Florida

When a case is settled, the parties will then have the opportunity to enter their final judgment. This is often referred to as the final judgment. The final judgment will outline the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement. This will provide the parties with the opportunity to finalize their case and close the case file.

However, a motion to amend final judgment in Florida is possible. This is often the result of the parties disagreeing with the terms and conditions of the final judgment.

When this is the case, the party who opposes the final judgment will then have the opportunity to file a motion to amend the final judgment. This will provide the party with the opportunity to explain why they believe the final judgment should be amended.

To do this, the party will usually provide additional facts or documents to support their position. They will then provide a legal argument for why the final judgment should be amended. This can be a complicated process, but a skilled attorney can usually explain the process to the party and provide them with the necessary legal guidance.

Once this is the case, the party will then have the opportunity to explain their position to the judge. The judge will then decide whether or not to amend the final judgment.      

Can You Appeal a Motion as Per Rule 1.510 Standard for Summary Judgment?

Yes, you can appeal a motion as per Rule 1.510 Standard for Summary Judgment.

To do so, you must file a notice of appeal. This will provide you with the opportunity to file an appellate brief. The appellate brief is the document that will provide you with the opportunity to explain your position to the appellate court. The appellate court will then have the opportunity to review the case and issue a decision.

Negligence Cases & Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Summary Judgment

When a person is injured due to the negligence of another person or entity, they may be able to seek compensation from the responsible party. This is often referred to as a negligence claim.  These cases are governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in Florida.

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provide the framework that litigants must follow when pursuing a negligence claim in Florida. This includes the process that must be followed when seeking a motion for summary judgment.

In Florida, rules of civil procedure summary judgment are offered as an option in some negligence cases. This is often the result of the failure of the opposing party to provide sufficient evidence to support their position.

The purpose of a civil procedure summary judgment is to eliminate the need for a trial. Instead, the judge will issue a ruling as to whether or not the evidence presented by the plaintiff is sufficient to support their claim.

Need Advice on a Florida Motion for Summary Judgment?

Unless you’re well versed in Florida law, it can be quite challenging to fully understand what a Florida motion for summary judgment is and how it works. If you’re struggling to understand a Florida motion for summary judgment or need legal advice, then a consultation with an experienced Florida lawyer may be exactly what you need.

Here at Cueto Law Group, we offer comprehensive legal advice for various legal issues in Florida. We can provide you with the necessary legal guidance when it comes to a motion for summary judgment in Florida. We will help you understand your legal rights, explain the process involved, and provide you with the necessary legal guidance to ensure that you’re fully prepared to meet your legal obligations.

Contact Cueto Law Group today for a consultation.

Final Points: Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is a powerful tool that can help reduce the risks associated with a lawsuit. A motion for summary judgment can eliminate the need for a trial when used properly. Instead, the judge will issue a ruling as to whether or not the evidence presented by the plaintiff is sufficient to support their claim.

Don’t go into a lawsuit without understanding all of your legal rights and obligations. If you need legal advice regarding a Florida motion for summary judgment, then the legal team at Cueto Law Group is ready to assist.

Contact us now!

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