When a plaintiff files a premises liability lawsuit in Florida, the case will go through several stages before it goes to trial. One of the more important stages in most premises liability lawsuits is the summary judgment phase. Summary judgment is a motion that a party can file, asking the court to rule in its favor because they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
In order for a summary judgment motion to be appropriate, the moving party must establish that the opposing party cannot succeed, even if all credibility conflicts are resolved in the opposing party’s favor. In Florida, summary judgment is appropriate when there is “no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Thus, during a defendant’s summary judgment motion, the judge must assume that all plaintiff witnesses are credible. If, after assessing the evidence, there is no way that the non-moving party can be successful, summary judgment is appropriate, and the case will be dismissed. However, if an issue of fact is present, summary judgment is not appropriate. A recent case illustrates this process.