By legal definition, a summary judgment in the State of Maryland is a judgment entered by the court for one party and against the opposing party. However, both parties can actually file for a summary judgment, basically requesting that the judge rule in their favor. A summary judgment is considered if there is nothing for a jury to decide and going to trial would be inappropriate for the case. A summary judgment is determined based on statements and evidence before ever going to trial. Another overall objective of a summary judgment is to limit the issues for trial and obtain a judgment as to only specific counts of the claim. In the end, a judge makes a final decision in the case in order to resolve a lawsuit before ever going to court.
Is a Summary Judgment a Good Thing for a Plaintiff ?
A summary judgment can be requested by either a plaintiff or a defendant in a personal injury case. The side that makes a motion to the court for a summary judgment is known as the motioning party. Often, a summary judgment does result in a favorable outcome for the motioning party. However, of course, the judgment would be highly unfavorable to the opposing party involved in the litigation.
How Do You Avoid a Summary Judgment?
In order to avoid an unfavorable outcome such a summary judgment you must be able to provide evidence involving your case that would be admissible in court. This evidence would have to indicate that the key facts surrounding your case are disputable, or in other words, not established as a fact and as such are open to question or debate. The court may only consider facts established in a pretrial record which include;
Deposition Testimony: The formal process of giving sworn testimony in the form of a written statement intended to be used as evidence.
Affidavits: Sworn statements of fact.
Answers to written discovery requests, documents, and other pertinent information.
The court however does not have the authority to determine which side has a more credible case. If the court has concerns about the credibility regarding witness statements or other matters, the case should be resolved by going to trial. As a rule of law, in order to grant a summary judgment, the court has to make a determination that a trial would be useless in view of the fact that there would be no facts for a judge or jury to consider.
Can You Appeal A Summary Judgment?
Generally, courts do not like to grant a summary judgment in most cases. Appellate courts often view summary judgments as being drastic in nature. In addition, if the determinations given for the summary judgment were insubstantial you can have a good chance of appealing the judgment.
If you have a personal injury case and are concerned that it may end in an unfavorable summary judgment, you need to speak with an experienced attorney who can answer all of your questions. The rules surrounding summary judgments can be complex and difficult to understand. Contact us at (301) 589-2999 and speak with one of our attorneys who can assist you in your fight for compensation.