Many plaintiffs in foreclosure cases file Motions for Summary Judgment in nearly every matter. This means that it is extremely important for our foreclosure clients to understand what a Motion for Summary Judgment is, and the consequences that can come from it. Essentially, a Motion for Summary Judgment is a mini-trial, and it is a way for the court and the parties to narrow the issues that will eventually be tried at trial. Related – Options A Homeowner Has to Avoid Foreclosure
How does a Motion for Summary Judgment differ from a trial?
One of the biggest differences between a trial and a Motion for Summary Judgment is the burden of proof. The burden of proof on a Motion for Summary Judgment is quite high; as the moving party must prove that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
On the contrary, a trial has a much lower burden of proof, which is called the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard can be described as just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the fact the claimant seeks to prove is true. In other words, the prevailing party merely has to tip the scales of justice in order to win at trial.
The bottom line is that a Motion for Summary Judgment can prove to be a dispositive hearing, and clients must prepare themselves for what may come of it.