What is a “Motion for Summary Judgment”?

Legal TermsA “motion for summary judgment” is a written request to a Court by a litigant for a judgment in its favor before a lawsuit goes to trial.  In the motion, the moving party claims that all factual and legal issues can be decided in the moving party’s favor based on the law and the evidence that has been developed in the case–such as deposition testimony (sworn testimony taken outside of court), affidavits or declarations (statements made under penalty of perjury),  the non-moving party’s admissions of fact, and the non-moving party’s answers to written interrogatories (written questions).  If the moving party makes a prima facie showing that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law upon the evidence, the opposing party needs to show (also by deposition testimony, affidavits, written declarations, or other competent evidence)  that there are “triable issues of material fact.”