Surviving Summary Judgment

Litigation injury cases can be complex. One standard operating procedure for the defense is an attempt to dispose of the complaint or lawsuit by filing a Motion for Summary Judgment.

Summary judgments are often appealed as the analysis of whether a disputed material fact remains is often very contentious. This was the case in a recent decision from the Second District Court of Appeals, Bellamy v. Ameri-Pride, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1206 (Fla. 2 nd DCA, 2014). I

In the Bellamy case the Plaintiff was rear-ended by a vehicle owned by Ameri-Pride and driven by a third party Cesar Calihua. After being sued Ameri-Pride defended the suit by filing a Motion for Summary Judgment alleging that the Calihua was not their employee and that he had stolen the vehicle. At the hearing the trial court agreed and entered summary judgment.

On appeal the Second District Court of Appeals disagreed. The Second DCA held that the because the facts in the record did support an inference that the driver was driving the vehicle with Ameri-Pride's knowledge and consent along with other evidence, an issue of act existed. Thus, in this case the material facts were not undisputed and thus summary judgment was not proper.