What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?
A Motion for Summary Judgment is a pleading filed with an Arizona court where a party is asking the judge to rule on a single issue—or the whole case—without the need for a trial. In order for summary judgment to be granted, there must be “no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law”. This means that the undisputed facts presented in a particular case entitle one side to win because of the existing law relating to that issue.
When considering a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Arizona judges must view all “the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Rowland v. Kellogg Brown and Root Inc. Per Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure 56(c), only if the Arizona court makes a finding that no genuine issue of material fact exists can the moving party be granted a judgment as a matter of law. If issues of material fact exist then the Motion for Summary Judgment should be dismissed in its entirety.
Arizona courts are cautioned not to use summary judgment proceedings as a substitute for trials, the motion should be granted if the facts produced in support of the claim or defense have so little probative value, given the quantum of evidence required, that reasonable people could not agree with the conclusion advanced by the proponent of the claim or defense.
The burden of persuasion on the party seeking summary judgment is heavy and if there is any genuine issue as to a material factual issue is present, the motion should be denied.
Statement of Facts and Affidavit
There are two documents filed in conjunction with the motion for summary judgment itself; 1) a statement of facts and 2) an affidavit of facts.
- Statement of Facts– The statement of facts lays out the facts as moving party sees them. In addition, to just stating the “facts”, they must also cite to specific documents that supports their statements.
- Affidavit in Support– Additionally, the moving party must file an affidavit where they swear under oath that each of the statements they make are true.
Why Did They File for Summary Judgment?
Just because the opposing party filed a Motion for Summary Judgment it doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or they have an extraordinarily strong case where the judge will enter judgment in their favor without even going to trial.
It is quite common for Motions for Summary Judgment to be filed in Arizona cases. In part they are
filed because a judge can rule on just one aspect of the case. This will allow
them to see if they can “chip at the edges” of our lawsuit and see if they can
get anything dismissed at this time.
What Should you Do?
must file a response to the Motion for Summary Judgment and explain to
the Arizona judge
why the case should move forward to trial. As part of the response a
statement of facts and affidavit must also be filed. Similar to the
opposing party’s statement of facts you must cite a source for every
statement you make to the court. Doing this can be
incredibly tedious and time consuming. The response and accompanying
be filed within 30 days of receiving their Motion!
What If the Summary Judgment is Granted?
If the motion is granted, the judgment on the
issue or case is deemed to be a final judgment from which a party may appeal.
An Arizona court of appeal can reverse the summary judgment and
reinstate the claim in the Superior Court. However, this is rarely done and
most summary judgments are upheld on appeal.
If you need help from an Arizona real estate attorney then contact the Dunaway Law Group at or 480-389-6529 by sending us a message HERE.