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Three Reasons Your Motion For A Summary Judgment May Be Denied

by Layla Bryant

Depending on the circumstances, it can be months before a lawsuit is resolved. If it becomes evident the plaintiff doesn't have a case against you, however, you can significantly shorten that time by submitting a motion for summary judgment. This legal maneuver essentially argues a jury would side with you after considering the evidence (or lack thereof) and asks the judge to decide in your favor based on that. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen, and here are a few reasons why a judge may deny your motion for summary judgment.

Didn't Adequately Make Your Case

It's not enough to simply say the plaintiff has no case. A motion for a summary judgment requires you to prove the plaintiff's case is meritless or the person doesn't have the evidence required to show you are liable for his or her damages. For instance, if the plaintiff has a letter from a witness about what he or she saw when the accident between you and the plaintiff occurred, you would have to explain why that evidence isn't relevant or admissible. Failure to provide adequate cause and proof will result in the judge denying the motion.

Introduced It Too Soon

Another reason why your motion for summary judgment may be denied is you submit it too early in the lawsuit. If the plaintiff is still in the process of collecting evidence to use, he or she could argue you didn't allow enough time for proper discovery (i.e. evidence gathering) or an unforeseen incident occurred (e.g. natural disaster) requiring them to replace information or evidence that was lost. It's best to wait until late in the proceedings, preferably after the discovery process ends, to introduce the motion to avoid this issue.

Errors in the Paperwork

Your motion may also be rejected because of errors in the paperwork or proceedings. Motions for summary judgment must follow a specific format to ensure the judge has all the information needed to make a decision. Additionally, you must follow proper court procedures when introducing the motion or the judge will deny your request without hearing what it's about. For instance, in D.C., you are required to obtain consent from the other party to file the motion. Without this consent, you can't file the motion with the court.

For more information about or help with a motion of summary judgment in your court case, contact a personal injury lawyer or firm such as Taylor Bayona Law Firm.