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Summary Judgment

What is a "motion for summary judgment" which is addressed in so many court decisions?

Steiner v. Ford Motor Co., 2000 ND 31, 606 N.W.2d 881 Summary judgment is a procedure for the prompt and expeditious disposition of a controversy without trial if either party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, if no dispute exists as to either the material facts or the inferences to be drawn from undisputed facts, or if resolving factual disputes would not alter the result.

Snortland v. State ex rel. Dep't of Public Instruction, 2000 ND 162, 615 N.W.2d 574"[¶10] Summary judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 56 is a procedural device for properly disposing of a lawsuit without trial if, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, there are no genuine issues of material fact or conflicting inferences which can reasonably be drawn from undisputed facts, or if the only issues to be resolved are questions of law. Dan Nelson Const., Inc. v. Nodland & Dickson, 2000 ND 61, ¶ 13, 608 N.W.2d 267."

Restated, a motion for a summary judgment is a request by one of the parties to a lawsuit that the court enter a judgment in their favor without a trial, because the other side, in preparing for the trial, has not presented any factual questions that need to be tried.

L.C. v. R.P., 1997 ND 96, 563 N.W.2d 799 -- "Although the litigant seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact, the litigant resisting the motion may not simply rely upon the pleadings, or upon unsupported conclusory allegations.  ...  Rather, the resisting litigant must present competent, admissible evidence by affidavit or by other comparable means to raise an issue of material fact ... As we explained .., summary judgment is proper when a litigant fails to raise a factual dispute about an element essential to that party's claim."

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