The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this trip and fall/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Universal Mall moves for summary judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 437c, which provides the statutory authority for the Court to grant this motion. This Section provides in relevant part:
(a) Any party may move for summary judgment in any action of any proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding.
(c) The motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
(o) A cause of action has no merit if either of the following exists:
(A) One or more of the elements of the cause of action cannot be separately established, even if that element is separately pleaded.
(B) A defendant establishes an affirmative defense to that cause or action.
Summary judgment is no longer regarded as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the rules of civil procedure. Binder v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 75 Cal. App. 4th 832, 838 (1999). The purpose of the summary judgment procedure is to expedite litigation by avoiding needless trials. Cone v. Union Oil Co., 129 Cal. App. 2d 558, 562 (1954).
Code of Civil Procedure § 437c(p)(2) sets forth a defendant’s burden in moving for summary judgment:
A defendant or cross-defendant has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if that party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to that cause of action.
Thus, a moving defendant is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law when it presents a complete defense to the plaintiff’s cause or causes of action. Security First Nat’l Bank v. Ross, 214 Cal. App. 2d 424, 432 (1963); Truslow v. Woodruff, 252 Cal. App.2d 158, 164 (1967).
(See Part 4 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.