Motion for Summary Judgment

By John Ellsworth, Esq October 31st, 2011

Assume that your attorney has filed your case in Tax Court. After thirty days have passed since the filing of the case, a party may file a motion called a Motion for Summary Judgment or MSJ. What is a MSJ? It is a pre-trial motion asking the court to decide some or all of the issues in a case without going to trial. Thus, the MSJ can be a very helpful and very decisive tool. The basic rule about the MSJ is that the court will grant (allow) your MSJ only if there are not material facts in dispute. A material fact is a fact which has a bearing on the outcome of the case. A fact is disputed when you say the apple is red and your opponent says no, the apple is green. If you have such a dispute then the court cannot grant the Motion for Summary Judgment or MSJ.

As with MSJ in other courts, the Tax Court judge is required to view the evidence (depositions, interrogatories, requests to admit, etc.) in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In other words if you say the apple is green and your opponent says the apple was red, if everything else in this argument is balanced equally between you and your opponent, the court in deciding the MSJ must decide the motion in the light most favorable to your opponent. This means the apple is red, as far as the court is concerned in deciding your MSJ, because your opponent–the non-moving party–has said the apple is red.

Always ask your attorney about the advisability of filing a Motion for Summary Judgment once your case is filed. It just might save you a bundle of money and a whole lot of time because your case just might be decided without the burden of a trial.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 6:54 pm and is filed under tax court. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.