Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clarifying the Burdens

Collin v. Calportland Co., No. C0635875 (D3 July 30, 2014)

This is an asbestos case, where the trial court granted summary judgment on product ID. The particulars don’t really matter much. But there are two useful statements on the SJ standard. First, the case clearly states that a moving defendant’s burden is to come forward with evidence that raises an reasonable inference that plaintiff can’t prove an element of her claim. That’s always been the standard, but the clear articulation is helpful. Second, the court makes the point that a moving party is not obligated to “to set forth all material evidence” that might undermine its initial burden on the motion, so long as the omission is not “an attempt to mislead the trial court about the state of the discovery record[.]” Given that a recent case suggests that evidence produced by the moving party after a motion for summary judgment is filed can sometimes be considered in assessing the moving party’s initial burden, this is also a helpful clarification for parties moving for summary judgment.

Affirmed in relevant part and reversed on other issues.

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