King: Summary judgments not easy to come by

Aug. 24—A local judge explained what a summary judgment is and how that process works.

Cherokee County Associate District Judge Josh King said he hears motions for summary judgment in some of the civil cases on his docket.

A summary judgment is occurs in a civil case when one party wants to have a court decision without a trial. It can also occur when one of the parties fails to file paperwork in a timely manner.

"A request for summary judgment is typically a request for the court to determine there are no material facts in dispute, and based on the agreed to or uncontested facts that the court can grant judgment in favor of the moving party," said King.

While it is common for a request for summary judgment to be filed by the plaintiff or defendant, King said it's less common that a summary judgment is actually granted.

There can be a partial summary judgment or a summary judgment for the entire case, depending on the particulars of the case and the issues involved with it, explained King.

"An example of a partial summary judgment might be where there's no dispute over who was at fault or who should obtain judgment as a matter of law, but there may be dispute as to the amount of damages," he said.

The judge said there could be granting of a partial summary judgment wherein the case could ultimately go to trial.

"The only thing for a judge or jury to decide at that point is assessment of damages," King said.

If a motion for summary judgment is denied, the case will be scheduled for trial.