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Motion for Summary Judgment:

A request made by the defendant in a civil case. Asserts that the plaintiff has raised no genuine issue to be tried and asks the judge to rule in favor of the defense.  This motion is done before trial and asks the judge to dismiss the matter because there is no basis for the lawsuit.

·         “Each element must be supported in the same way as any other matter on which the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, i.e., with the manner and degree of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigation." Id. In order to defeat a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rely on his pleadings but must present some evidence on every material issue for which he will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex  Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).


Iowa Court Rules 2009:


Rule 1.981 On what claims. Summary judgment may be

had under the following conditions and circumstances:

1.981(1) For claimant. A party seeking to recover

upon a claim, counterclaim, cross-petition or cross-claim

or to obtain a declaratory judgment may, at any time after

the appearance day or after the filing of a motion for summary

judgment by the adverse party, move with or without

supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in that

party’s favor upon all or any part thereof.

1.981(2) For defending party. A party against whom a

claim, counterclaim, cross-petition or cross-claim is asserted

or a declaratory judgment is sought may, at any time,

move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary

judgment in that party’s favor as to all or any part thereof.

1.981(3) Motion and proceedings thereon. The motion

shall be filed not less than 60 days prior to the date the

case is set for trial, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Any party resisting the motion shall file a resistance within

15 days, unless otherwise ordered by the court, from

the time when a copy of the motion has been served. The

resistance shall include a statement of disputed facts, if

any, and a memorandum of authorities supporting the resistance.

If affidavits supporting the resistance are filed,

they must be filed with the resistance. Notwithstanding

the provisions of rules 1.431 and 1.435, the time fixed for

hearing or nonoral submission shall be not less than 20

days after the filing of the motion, unless a shorter time is

ordered by the court. The judgment sought shall be rendered

forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to

interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the

affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to

any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a

judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory

in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability

alone although there is a genuine issue as to the

amount of damages. If summary judgment is rendered on

the entire case, rule 1.904(2) shall apply.

1.981(4) Case not fully adjudicated on motion. If on

motion under this rule judgment is not rendered upon the

whole case or for all the relief asked and a trial is necessary,

the court at the hearing of the motion, by examining

the pleadings and the evidence before it and by interrogating

counsel, shall if practicable ascertain what material

facts exist without substantial controversy and what

material facts are actually and in good faith controverted.

It shall thereupon make an order specifying the facts that

appear without substantial controversy, including the extent

to which the amount of damages or other relief is not

in controversy, and directing such further proceedings in

the action as are just. Upon the trial of the action the facts

so specified shall be deemed established, and the trial

shall be conducted accordingly.

1.981(5) Form of affidavits; further testimony; defense

required. Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be

made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as

would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively

that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters

stated therein. Sworn or certified copies of all papers

or parts thereof referred to in an affidavit shall be attached

thereto or filed therewith. The court may permit affidavits

to be supplemented or opposed by depositions, answers to

interrogatories, further affidavits, or oral testimony. When

a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as

provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon

the mere allegations or denials in the pleadings, but the response,

by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule,

must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine

issue for trial. If the adverse party does not so respond,

summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered.

1.981(6) When affidavits are unavailable. Should it appear

from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that

the party for reasons stated cannot present by affidavit facts

essential to justify the opposition, the court may refuse the

application for judgment or may order a continuance to permit

affidavits to be obtained or depositions to be taken or

discovery to be had or may make such other order as is just.

1.981(7) Affidavits made in bad faith. Should it

appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that

any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are

presented in bad faith or solely for the purpose of

delay, the court shall forthwith order the party employing

them to pay to the other party the amount of the

reasonable expenses which the filing of the affidavits

caused that party to incur, including reasonable attorney’s

fees, and any offending party or attorney may be

adjudged guilty of contempt.

1.981(8) Supporting statement and memorandum.

Upon any motion for summary judgment pursuant to this

rule, there shall be annexed to the motion a separate, short

and concise statement of the material facts as to which the

moving party contends there is no genuine issue to be

tried, including specific reference to those parts of the

pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions

on file and affidavits which support such contentions

and a memorandum of authorities. [Report

1943; amendment 1967; amendment 1975; amendment

1980; July 15, 1991, effective January 2, 1992; October

31, 1997, effective January 24, 1998; November 9, 2001,

effective February 15, 2002]

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"Political reasons have not the requisite certainty to afford juridical interpretation. They are different in different men. They are different in the same men at different times. And when a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under a government of individual men, who for the time being have the power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of that it ought to mean." Dred Scott v.Sanford, 19 How. 393, 620 (1857) (Curtis, J., dissenting).
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