A motion for summary judgment in the Massachusetts Superior Court requires the drafting of multiple, cross-referenced documents and can be procedurally complex. Such a motion asserts that there are no disputed material facts, and asks the court to enter judgment as a matter of law based on the undisputed facts. A party opposing summary judgment must show either that material facts are disputed or that the undisputed facts do not entitle the moving party to judgment. It follows that a Massachusetts motion for summary judgment requires the parties to martial the evidence (from documents, depositions, etc.) and present the case to the court in concise, well-organized papers.
In addition to satisfying the requirements of Mass. R. Civ. P. 56, summary judgment motions filed in Massachusetts Superior Courts must comply with the detailed directives of Superior Court Rule 9A which governs the form and content of the motion for summary judgment and any opposition, and specifies the procedure for service and filing. Any attorney filing or opposing a motion for summary judgment in the Superior Court should be intimately familiar with Rule 9A.
Even in simple cases, a party seeking summary judgment must serve on the opposing party at least the following documents:
- The motion for summary judgment;
- A separate memorandum stating the reasons, including supporting authorities, why the motion should be granted;
- A statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried (“SOF”). Each fact referred to in the memorandum must be supported by citation to the SOF;
- A joint appendix of exhibits (“Joint Appendix”) supporting the motion and any opposition. Each fact in the SOF must cite to a document in the Joint Appendix;
- An affidavit authenticating the exhibits in the Joint Appendix on which the moving party is relying.
Similarly, a party opposing a motion for summary judgment may serve on the moving party:
- A memorandum in opposition to the motion;
- Responses to the moving party’s SOF;
- A statement of additional undisputed material facts, added as a continuation of the SOF;
- Any additional exhibits referred to in the opposing party’s papers, and an index thereto, for inclusion in the parties’ Joint Appendix.
A motion for summary judgment may become even more complex if either party files a motion to strike of if the opposing party files a cross-motion with the opposition.
The following pages provide additional information about motions for summary judgment in the Massachusetts Superior Court:
- What is a motion for summary judgment
- The moving party’s burden
- The Superior Court’s review of a motion for summary judgment
- Partial summary judgment
- Evidence considered on a motion for summary judgment
- When a motion for summary judgment may be filed
- Documents which must be filed to seek or oppose summary judgment
- General form and format requirements
- Drafting a successful motion for summary judgment or opposition
- The statement of material facts
- Drafting an effective statement of facts
- The joint appendix of exhibits
- Reply memoranda
- Hearing on motion for summary judgment
- Rule 56(f): seeking additional discovery before responding to a motion for summary judgment
- Rule 56(g): bad faith affidavits
- Special rules in the Business Litigation Session (BLS)
- Appeal of the grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment