This is short article on summary judgments. A motion for summary judgment, as you may already know, is a procedural vehicle to try to dispose of issues or claims in a lawsuit, either partially or fully. The objective is that the moving party claims that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to a judgment (partially or finally) as a matter of law. See Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510. In May of 2021, Florida adopted the federal summary judgment standard which theoretically means trial courts should grant more summary judgments, not less, based on the more rigorous standard.
There have been many articles that discuss Florida’s new summary judgment standard including how the standard used to be versus how it is supposed to be now that it is modeled after the federal standard. That isn’t the point of this posting. (Here is an article published in the Florida Bar Journal that provides a primer on summary judgments in case you are interested.)
The point of this posting is to understand the words “genuine” and “material” as underlined above when moving for or defending against a summary judgment. These words have important meaning in the context of motions for summary judgment. In other words, what is a genuine issue of material fact? This is a question that should not be overlooked because these are the facts you want to focus on and frame your arguments on when moving for or defending against a summary judgment. Notably, these are also the facts you want to introduce and emphasize at trial.