Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aberson et al. on Summary Judgment in State Court

Jaclyn Aberson, Patrick Garry, Candice Spurlin, and John Garry, all of University of South Dakota Law School, have posted their paper "The Use and Success of Summary Judgment" on SSRN.


As judicial caseloads increase, putting a strain on court budgets and resources and delaying the resolution of cases, solutions are pursued to alleviate this strain. Summary judgment motions present one path that courts may take to more quickly dispose of cases that do not meet certain threshold legal requirements. Nevertheless, there is little research data on the use of summary judgment motions, as well as the success of those motions, particularly at the state court level. To address this important litigation issue, the Hagemann Center for Legal and Public Policy Research at the University of South Dakota conducted a research study of summary judgment motion practice in Minnehaha County – the most populated county in South Dakota. 

The study evaluated over 477 litigation cases filed in Minnehaha County circuit courts. Although the study covered a three-year time period, it is only an introductory study of a very complicated area of civil litigation practice. As such, this study is intended to serve as a springboard for future studies. Nonetheless, the Hagemann Center study does yield some enlightening insights into how civil litigants use summary judgment motions and how courts deal with such motions.


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