NEW FLORIDA SUMMARY JUDGEMENT STANDARD!
Jan. 4, 2021
A couple days ago in Wilsonart LLC v. Lopez, the Florida Supreme Court formally adopted the federal summary judgement standard, which will take effect on May 1 2021. While I encourage everyone to read the decision, as well as the actual amendment, in summary, the most important difference with the new standard is that Defendants no longer have to "disprove" every element of Plaintiff's case, which can be very difficult when there is no obtainable evidence to disprove allegations that have been made specifically to avoid summary judgement. Under the new standard, much like a directed verdict (and "provided there has been an adequate time for discovery"), Defendants only have to prove that a Plaintiff has not presented evidence sufficient to prove his or her claim. In theory, there are a myriad of situations where a defense may fall short of the old standard but would meet the new one. One example would be a Plaintiff's inability to prove "constructive notice" in premises liability cases.
Great way to start the new year!