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You Can Get Squashed If You Don't Use The Laws Of The Court
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You Can Get Squashed if You Don\'t Use the Laws of the Court

Have you ever gone to court and had the opposing counsel suddenly stand and ask the judge for a summary judgment and watch your whole case blow up in your face? Too many people have and nobody should who knows the laws of the court.

The Motion for Summary Judgment is found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 56. Each and every state in the USA has its own counterpart Rule allowing MSJ. This rule is there to end a case where there is no unsettled argument. Literally the two parts that must be present for an MSJ to work are 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. They are saying with this motion that the facts are established, uncontested, and that the judge has all the information he needs to render a judgment.

Judges want to do summary judgments when they can because they then get to clear this item from their docket and move on to the next case. The thing about it is that these are routinely struck down in appeals courts. The laws of the court permit you to make your case. A motion for summary judgment can be filed by either side. The problem arises when you are right and you know it but you did not prove there was a genuine issue as to material fact through the use of strong pleadings, discovery filed timely and done right, and evidence filed prior to convening court.

If you have not done your homework, all the opposing counsel has to do to get an MSJ is to file some affidavits that may be inadmissible anyway and claim that there is no unresolved issue as to the facts of the case. It can happen so fast you are left wondering what happened and how much it costs to appeal.

Your homework that I am referring to includes pleadings, which include the complaint or the answer with affirmative defenses, depending which side you are on and discovery, including depositions and documents the opposing side has to bring that lend credence and proof to your case. Good strong pleadings will bar such a motion as will discovery requests not answered by the other side. Thus, by using the laws of the court to your advantage, you can prevent the opposing lawyer from taking control of the matter with the motion.

The laws of the court that can squash you or your opponent are available to you in each state's and the Federal codes and books of rules. Learning all that can be intimidating and is one reason lawyers specialize - there is too much to know all of it, but the laws of the court that apply to any specific area of law are not out of reach if you learn how to use a few basic forms and procedures properly.

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