Insurance Company Asking Court To Dismiss Claims – Standards For

Here is a 2022 opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, wherein the Court explains the standards for a summary judgment motion to be granted.  The opinion is styled, Poonam Hospitality d/b/a Quality Inn & Suites v. Lexington Insurance Company.

The facts of the case can be gleamed from reading the opinion.  Here is set out the things that a Federal Court looks at when ruling on a motion for summary judgment.   Here, a response to the motion was not provided to the Court.

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), summary judgment shall be granted when the record shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  A dispute regarding a material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party.  When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to view all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and resolve all disputed facts in favor of the nonmoving party.  Further, a court “may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence” in ruling on a motion for summary judgment.

Once the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case, the party opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.  On the other hand, “if the movant bears the burden of proof on an issue, either because he is the plaintiff or as a defendant he is asserting an affirmative defense, he must establish beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of the claim or defense to warrant judgment in his favor.”  “When the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine [dispute] for trial.’”  Mere conclusory allegations are not
competent summary judgment evidence, and thus are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.  Unsubstantiated assertions, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are not competent summary judgment evidence.

The party opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner in which that evidence supports his or her claim.  Rule 56 does not impose a duty on the court to “sift through the record in search of evidence” to support the nonmovant’s opposition to the motion for summary judgment.  “Only disputes
over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing laws will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”  Disputed fact issues that are “irrelevant and unnecessary” will not be considered by a court in ruling on a summary judgment motion.  If the nonmoving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to its case and on which it will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must be granted.

As noted, Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant’s Motion.  This failure, of course, does not permit a court to enter a “default” summary judgment.  When no response is filed, such failure does permit the court to accept as undisputed the evidence set forth in support of a movant’s motion for summary judgment.  Accordingly, the court accepts Defendant’s evidence as undisputed.

Contact Information