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Chart: Compare Summary Judgment to Other Motions

Apple to OrangeWhen considering whether to move for summary judgment or summary adjudication, always assess whether there are better procedures available for narrowing the issues or terminating the litigation. Keep the following chart handy to help you compare summary judgment and adjudication motions with alternative dispositive motions available under California law.



Description and Comparison

Summary Judgment (CCP §437c; Cal Rules of Ct 3.1350–3.1354)

Requests judgment on the ground that there is no material fact issue to be tried; must be supported by admissible evidence.

Summary Adjudication (CCP §437c(f); Cal Rules of Ct 3.1350–3.1354)

Requests a binding adjudication of a cause of action, defense, issue of duty, or punitive damages claim on the ground that as to that issue there is no material fact issue to be tried; must be supported by admissible evidence.

Summary Adjudication (CCP §437c(t); Cal Rules of Ct 3.1350–3.1354)

Requests a binding adjudication of a legal issue or claim for damages (other than punitive damages) on stipulation of parties. Application for permission to file motion must be supported by declarations showing that a ruling will further judicial economy.

Anti-SLAPP Motion (CCP §425.16)

A preemptive motion to dismiss the case on the ground that it is a bad faith attempt to chill exercise of rights to speech or to petition government on an issue of public concern; evidence is allowed.

Demurrer (CCP §§430.10–432.10)

Seeks elimination of a pleading or cause of action in the pleading on the ground that the allegations of the pleading do not state a claim as a matter of law. May be based only on the allegations in the pleading and matters of which judicial notice may be taken; no evidence allowed.

Motion for Judgment on Pleadings (CCP §438)

Same as demurrer; only significant difference is timing: Demurrer is proper before the adversary’s answer; motion for judgment on the pleadings is proper after answer.

Motion to Strike (CCP §435)

Requests that allegations in a pleading not in conformity with California law be stricken; may be based only on allegations in the pleading and matters of which judicial notice can be taken; no evidence is allowed.

Objection to Introduction of All Evidence (see Clemens v American Warranty Corp. (1987) 193 CA3d 444, 451)

Similar to motion for Judgment on Pleadings; objecting party seeks to end trial and obtain favorable judgment on pleadings without evidence on ground that, even if proved, allegations would not state cause of action or defense.

Motion In Limine (see Amtower v Photon Dynamics, Inc. (2008) 158 CA4th 1582, 1593)

Pretrial motion requesting an order precluding the admission of evidence; may be based on pleadings or limited evidentiary matters, such as discovery responses; the court may not weigh evidence.

Cottle Motion (see Cottle v Superior Court (1992) 3 CA4th 1367)

Motion requiring plaintiff to make prima facie showing of causation in personal injury cases; directed to trial court’s discretion (trial court may deny motion without having to consider it or specify reasons for denial).

Motion for Nonsuit (CCP §581c)

After opening statement or presentation of plaintiff’s evidence, motion concedes truth of facts presented, but contends those facts are insufficient to establish prima facie case as a matter of law.

Motion for Directed Verdict (CCP §630)

Usually made after all evidence is presented; court may direct verdict only when there is no substantial conflict in the evidence.

Motion for JNOV (CCP §629)

Made after the jury has returned its verdict; court may render JNOV whenever a motion for directed verdict should have been granted had such motion been made.

Motion for Judgment (CCP §631.8)

Made after party has completed presentation of evidence in a court (nonjury) trial; court weighs evidence as trier-of-fact and renders judgment; in motion for summary judgment, court does not weigh evidence or make factual determinations.

Deciding whether to move for summary judgment? Review all of the strategic considerations in CEB’s California Summary Judgment, chap 1. Also check out CEB’s program Summary Judgment: Case Strategies and the Decision to File and Procedural Issues, available On Demand. For discussion on each of the alternative dispositive motions, turn to CEB’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial and California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial.

Other CEBblog™ posts on summary judgment.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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