Motions for Summary Judgment


A motion for summary judgment is a type of dispositive motion.  Rule 56 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure explains that summary judgment procedure is a method for promptly disposing of actions in which there is no genuine issue as to any material fact.  Summary judgment motions must be filed in accordance with specific rules relating to the content and quality of the information presented to the judge.

In most jurisdictions a two-part standard must be satisfied for summary judgment to be granted such as:

  • Any genuine issue of material fact cannot be in dispute between the parties, and
  • the moving party must be entitled to judgment.

Most motions for summary judgment will require:

  • page limits on submissions by counsel;
  • an instruction to state disputed issues of fact;
  • an instruction to state whether there is a governing case;
  • an instruction that all summary judgment motions be accompanied by electronic versions including full pinpoint citations and complete deposition and affidavit excerpts;
  • an instruction that all exhibits submitted conform to specific physical characteristics;
  • an instruction that citations to deposition or affidavit testimony must include the appropriate page or paragraph numbers and that references to other documents or materials must include pinpoint citations.

Generally, a judge issues a tentative ruling on the submitted pleadings.  The counsel will be offered an opportunity to respond in a later oral argument.  Prior to a decision, the judge may grant requests for argument in a preargument order specifying points for discussion.