If you hear that a court “dismisses” a complaint, or finds in favor of the plaintiff, it may have been dismissed as a result of a summary judgment motion filed by one of the parties. A summary judgment motion is a motion made by either the plaintiff or the defendant asking the court to decided the case on the evidence submitted and skip the trial. It is appropriate when there are no legal issues for the judge or jury to decide, and the case can be decided on its facts.
In a recent case, the Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed the summary judgment standard that has been used in Indiana for several years. In the case, Rambo v. Justice, the plaintiff, Rambo, was involved in an auto accident and was taken to the hospital and treated by Dr. Justice. Dr. Justice treated Rambo, but failed to take spine x-rays. Rambo then went to physical therapy which ended up making her condition worse. After two weeks, it was discovered that she had spinal fractures as a result of the accident.
The defendant doctor filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court
granted the motion and Rambo appealed to the court of appeals. On appeal, the court took the opportunity to affirm the standard for summary judgment, and when it is appropriate. Specifically, the court noted that the party seeking summary judgment “bears the burden of making a prima facie showing that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
The court continued, explaining that “a genuine issue of material fact exists where facts concerning an issue that would dispose of the litigation are in dispute or where the undisputed material facts are capable of supporting conflicting inferences on such an issue.” In short, the court is saying that there are no legal issues in the case and the judge can resolve the case on the facts. In other words, assuming all disputed facts fall in favor of the non-moving party, the moving party still would win the case.
The Benefits of Summary Judgment
Parties generally seek summary judgment when they feel that they have a strong case and going to trial would be a waste of time and money. If a party can get summary judgment granted in their favor, the other party is generally able to appeal, although they do not always do so. Either way, winning a motion for summary judgment will usually result in saved time and legal fees.
Are you Involved in an Indiana Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you are currently involved in an Indiana lawsuit, or are considering filing a lawsuit in the State of Indiana, you should consult with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s assistance you will be able to better determine what litigation strategy best suits your needs as well as the specific facts of your case. To speak to an attorney and discuss your situation in more detail, call 888-532-7766, or contact the firm online.
Tort Claimant’s Initial Notice to City Doesn’t Restrict the Scope of the Claims that the Claimant Can Bring, Indiana Accident Attorneys, February 3, 2014.
Two-Car Accident Injures Seven in Newport, Indiana, Indiana Accident Attorneys, January 10, 2014.