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Summary Judgment Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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Summary Judgment-Statutes

See Va. Code § 8.01-378, which authorizes entry of partial summary judgment.

See Va. Code § 8.01-420 indicating that depositions may not be used in support of motions for summary judgment.

Summary Judgment-Cases

2009 Hyland v. Raytheon Tech. Servs. Co., 277 Va. 40, 670 S.E.2d 746.
Trial court improperly granted summary judgment in this defama- tion case. Trial court should not have looked at portion of statement in isolation but looked at the statement as a whole in terms of determining truth or falsity. It is up to the court to determine whether or not the statement is provably false. If it is, then it may be subject to a defamation claim that then will be decided by the jury as to the truth or falsity of the statement. If the trial court determines that the statement is not provably false, then it in effect becomes a statement of opinion and therefore not subject to a defamation claim. Under the common law, the plaintiff must show that the defendant published a false factual statement that concerns and harms the plaintiff or the plaintiffs’ reputation. The plaintiff must show that the defendant knew the statement was false, or believing the statement was true, lacked a reasonable basis for such belief, or acted negligently in failing to determine the facts.

2003 Andrews v. Ring, 266 Va. 311, 585 S.E.2d 780.
Grant of summary judgment before the conclusion of discovery was not reversible error in this instance where there was no written discovery that was pending and without agreement of parties, only answers to request for admissions could further supplement the evidence properly considered by the trial court. No evidence that the record upon which summary judgment was granted would have been any different, if trial court had delayed its ruling.

1997 Gay v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 253 Va. 212, 483 S.E.2d 216.
Defendant filed motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff did not object to use of deposition in support of motion for summary judgment until after motion was made, briefed and argued. Trial court ruled that this constituted waiver. Statute requires agreement. There was no waiver in this instance.

1995 Slone v. General Motors Corp., 249 Va. 520, 457 S.E.2d 51.
Products liability action. Trial court improperly granted motion for summary judgment. Although doctrine of crash worthiness was properly rejected, plaintiff still should have been given opportunity to present evidence at trial as to issues of negligence and breach of warranty.

1993 Carson v. LeBlanc, 245 Va. 135, 427 S.E.2d 189.
Auto accident case. Defendant forwarded request for admissions to plaintiff consisting of deposition testimony wherein plaintiff was requested to admit that certain witnesses testified to certain issues in these depositions. Supreme Court noted that Va. Code § 8.01-420 prohibits use of depositions in motions for summary judgment. Supreme Court noted that it has cautioned that discovery should ordinarily not supplant taking of evidence at trial, and that this is especially true in auto accident cases. However, since this error was not raised on appeal, it is not addressed in this decision.

1981 Central Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Virginia Farm Bur. Mut. Ins. Co., 222 Va. 353, 282 S.E.2d 4.
Trial court’s duty to ascertain whether facts remain in dispute or whether there are sufficient facts to decide question is not obviated by cross motions for summary judgment.

1974 O’Brien v. Snow, 215 Va. 403, 210 S.E.2d 165.
No duty to develop case during discovery so as to avoid summary judgment. Moreover, summary judgment cannot be upheld in whole or in part on discovery depositions. Statute passed after case filed, but before final judgment applicable to case.

1974 Owens v. Redd, 215 Va. 13, 205 S.E.2d 669.
Cola bottle fell on floor, exploded and injured plaintiff. Based on depositions court entered summary judgment for defendant. Error: material facts still in dispute; plaintiff under no duty to fully develop her allegations of negligence at time discovery depositions taken.

1972 Clitton v. Gregory, 212 Va. 859, 188 S.E.2d 203.
Entry of summary judgment held error when based on request for admission and interrogatories since defendant’s answers to these did not constitute admissions.

1971 Leslie v. Nitz, 212 Va. 480, 184 S.E.2d 755.
Summary judgment may be entered based on facts adduced by discovery depositions.

1971 Marion v. Terry, 212 Va. 401, 184 S.E.2d 761.
Trial court improperly entered summary judgment since evidence had not been sufficiently developed to warrant such.

1963 Virginia Farm Mut. Ins. Co. v. Saccio, 204 Va. 769, 133 S.E.2d 268.
Where there is issue as to material fact, summary judgment should not be granted. Material question here was one of permissive use.

1959 Richardson v. Charles, 201 Va. 426, 111 S.E.2d 401.
Auto accident case. There was no conflict in evidence in regard to business relationship of litigants and reasons plaintiff was occupant in defendant’s vehicle. As such, it was incumbent on trial court to rule as matter of law as to plaintiff’s status as guest or passenger.

1959 Willner v. Woodward, 201 Va. 104, 109 S.E.2d 132.
It is error to enter summary judgment when issue of fact raised by evidence.

1959 Goode v. Courtney, 200 Va. 804, 108 S.E.2d 396.
Motion for summary judgment is not to be used as substitute for demurrer or motion to strike.

1954 Carwile v. Richmond Newspapers, 196 Va. 1, 82 S.E.2d 588.
Summary judgment is proper only in those cases in which dispute concerns only question of law.

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Summary Judgment Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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