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Summary judgment in civil lawsuits

People in Oregon who are involved in a lawsuit may wonder what is meant by the term summary judgment. When a suit is initially filed, the plaintiff is filing a civil complaint, and through an attorney, he or she will assert various legal grounds and theories upon which his or her claims are based.

An individual may file a summary judgment motion when both parties agree on most facts and there are no significant elements legally in dispute. Typically, there are three parts to a summary judgment motion. In the first part, the plaintiff, for instance, will present his or her version of the events, which could be accompanied with evidence that supports the claim. Evidence could include witness statements, police reports, photographs and other pertinent information. In the second section, the plaintiff's attorney will write a memorandum discussing the laws that apply to the case. During this part, the lawyer will also present convincing arguments as to why a plaintiff should win the case.

Once the events of the incident have been recounted and the applicable laws have been mentioned, a lawyer will then try to counter any arguments the defendant may make in their response. This is done in order to prove that the plaintiff should still win the case despite the defendant's arguments. A judge will evaluate the summary judgment and then decide which side wins the case. However, if there appears to be legal facts in dispute, the summary judgment motion will be denied and civil litigation will proceed.

It is important that civil complaints initiating lawsuits are carefully drafted to make certain they can withstand legal scrutiny. A lawyer could help an individual prepare the appropriate documents as well as provide sound legal advice should problems arise.

Source: Findlaw, "What is Summary Judgment?", December 29, 2014

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