One of the loudest, most common complaints about Connecticut lawsuits is that they take too long.
Connecticut civil procedure sets out a road map that covers both distance and the time allotted between lawsuit waypoints on the way to trial.
But, while things can take a long time, our overburdened courts and judges are always keen to find a way for a case to exit the litigation highway. One of the ways that can be done is through a Motion for Summary Judgment.
A Motion for Summary Judgment says that there are no facts in dispute in a case, and that based upon the law that applies to those facts, the lawsuit or legal issue should be concluded without trial. In other words, there’s nothing to really argue about, the facts are clear and that based upon those facts, the party seeking summary judgment wins on the law. Case over.
If you’re a party to a Connecticut lawsuit, here are five things that you should understand about a Summary Judgment Motion:
1) Although Connecticut judges always want to find a way to lessen their caseload, they also are very hesitant to prevent a case going to trial, especially a jury trial.
Jury trials are a Constitutional right and juries are our judges of the facts. Judges don’t take a ruling that prevents a jury trial lightly.
2) Facts are what drive the Motion for Summary Judgment.
If you want to either end your case early, or if you want to ensure that your case reaches a jury, investigation and discovery are crucially important. Make sure that your law firm has the time, experience and resources to conduct discovery and investigation.
3) Get your affidavits together.
Motions for Summary Judgment are commonly accompanied by affidavits. The law firm that represents you should be prepared early in your case to evaluate the strength and credibility of witnesses and draft concise affidavits that support your case.
4) Be sure that all material witnesses who may support your side have been deposed.
Depositions cost money; an average Connecticut deposition that might last three hours will require a court reporter and transcript fee of approximately $500.00. The longer the deposition, the more expensive it becomes. It’s this basic: your law firm has to have the money to take depositions, sometimes as many as a dozen or more.
5) Sometimes Judges get it wrong.
Depending upon how much is at stake in your case, and whether an error was made by the trial court judge, an adverse decision on a Motion for Summary Judgment can be appealed. Appeals are the only way to straighten things out, and sometimes, other than through legislation, our appellate courts make important changes in our common law.
Connecticut Summary Judgment represents a crucial juncture in your lawsuit. Make sure that your firm is prepared in every way to represent your interests aggressively, intelligently, strategically and with the financial wherewithal to see your case to its conclusion.