Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment

Rule 56 of the S.C. Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to request the Court to grant judgment without a trial. It is requested by filing a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court may grant summary judgement if there is "no genuine issue of material fact" for a judge or jury to decide on. This is determined based on the evidence presented to the presiding Judge when the motion comes up on the motion docket.

What evidence does the judge consider?

1. Answers to discovery requests

2. Documents that are authenticated or verified by a witness

3. Admissions by a party (where a party admits or fails to deny a request for admission)

4. Affidavits. This is the most important evidence to oppose summary judgment for a defendant. Also see the section on Challenging the affidavit of the Plaintiff-creditor

There is usually no testimony at a summary judgment hearing. The judge decides whether to grant summary judgment based only on the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any" in the case. 

See the examples of a summary judgment motion, memorandum in support of summary judgment and memorandum in opposition to summary judgment included here.

Caution: if you are representing yourself at a summary judgment hearing, it is possible that the judge will ask you questions, even if you provided an Affidavit contradicting the Statements of the Plaintiff-creditor. If you are represented by an attorney who is at the hearing on your behalf, the Court only has your Affidavit to rely on.

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