On December 31, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion amending Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510 governing summary judgment proceedings, to adopt the summary judgment standard articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986); Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986).

What does this all mean, you might very well be asking? Well, it means that the correct test for the existence of a genuine factual dispute is no longer “the slightest doubt” being raised by the nonmovant, but whether “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”

Still confused? Well that’s why it helps to have a lawyer that has actually Federal Court experience. Most personal injury lawyers spend a lot of time in Florida State Court Houses, and almost zero time in Federal Court Houses. Andre Raikhelson has litigated personal injury cases in both state and federal court. Andre Raikhelson has sued cruise lines, air carries, businesses, and individuals in federal court. For example, Woienski v. United Airlines, Inc.,Case No: 6:18-cv-393-Orl-40LRH, where we were featured in the Orlando Sentinel.

Another change worth mentioning concerns the deadlines for filing a summary judgment motion and a response to the motion. Under the current rule, the movant was required to serve the summary judgment motion 20 days before the hearing date and the nonmovat could designate its summary judgment evidence by electronic notice 2 days prior to the hearing. This often left the movant scrambling last minute to respond to the opposition to its summary judgment motion. Under the new rule, this problem is alleviated by requiring the nonmovant to serve its response at least 20 days prior to the hearing. The movant must serve the summary judgment motion at least 40 days in advance of the hearing.

The choice is simple, go to the lawyer with the most experience and knows how to apply the new Federal Court Summary Judgment standard.