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Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact challenged and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment or order as a matter of law.” R. 4-46-2(c); See Also Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995).  “[Summary judgment] is designed to provide a prompt, businesslike and inexpensive method of disposing of any cause which a discriminating search of the merits in the pleadings, depositions and admissions on file, together with the affidavits submitted on the motion clearly shows not to present any genuine issue of material fact requiring disposition at trial.”  Brill, supra, 142 N.J. at 530 (citing Ledley v. William Penn Life Ins. Co., 138 N.J. 627, 641-642 (1995) (quoting Judson v. Peoples Bank & Trust Co. of Westfield, 17 N.J. 67, 75 (1954)).   According to Brill, supra, 142 N.J. at 529:

 

By its plain language, Rule 4:46-2 dictates that a court should deny a summary judgment motion only where the party opposing the motion has come forward with evidence that creates a ‘genuine issue as to any material fact challenged.’ That means a non-moving party cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment merely by pointing to any fact in dispute.  Id.

 

Also, the disputed fact must be substantial to the litigation.  Id. at 529-530.   In Brill, supra, 142 N.J. at 540, the court went on to state:

A determination whether there exists a “genuine issue” of material fact that precludes summary judgment requires the motion judge to consider whether the competent evidential materials presented, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, are sufficient to permit a rational factfinder to resolve the alleged disputed issue in favor of the non-moving party.

 

[Id.]