Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits Following Changes to Summary Judgment Rule

In December 2020, the Florida Supreme Court announced that effective May 2021, Florida state courts would begin following the federal summary judgment standard. These changes will inevitably drastically impact Florida personal injury lawsuits. Further solidifying the change, at the end of April, the Florida Supreme court reviewed comments from the legal community and amended the language of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.510 (FLRCP 1.510). The amendment “largely adopted” the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56 (FRCP 56) text as a replacement for FLRCP 1.510.

The standard governs summary motions pending or decided on or after May 1, 2021. Additionally, the Supreme Court stated that courts should allow parties to file a renewed summary judgment motion if their motion was denied under the old rule. The critical changes to the rule change involve:

  1. The summary judgment standard now “mirrors” the standard for directed verdicts;
  2. The moving party does not maintain the obligation to negate their opponent’s claims;
  3. A genuine issue of material fact exists when a reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party;
  4. The proscriptive filing time periods have been increased; and
  5. The court must state on the record the reason for granting or denying a summary judgment motion.

The amendments will significantly affect many aspects of a Florida personal injury lawsuit proceeding. For instance, a moving party may now discharge their evidentiary obligation by pointing out an absence of evidence to support the other party’s case. Further, the party opposing summary judgment must now establish more evidence than simply showing some ethereal doubt about the existence of genuine material facts. Moreover, in an effort to provide helpful guidance and allow for a higher court’s review, courts must state their reasons for their decision

The Court stated that these changes should improve the efficiency and fairness of the civil justice system. Although the changes may mitigate the expense and burden of meritless proceedings, they may also pose more burdens on personal injury victims. Injury victims should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as these changes will allow the parties to cite complicated federal case law and statutory interpretation. The profound changes might weed out unnecessary cases and allow parties to proceed with their claims more quickly. As such, claimants should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Accident?

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died in a preventable accident, contact the lawyers of Frankl Kominsky. The attorneys at our law firm represent clients seeking compensation after a Florida motor vehicle accident, premises liability accident, medical malpractice incident, and wrongful death case. We provide our clients with exceptional advocacy and representation to ensure that they recover the damages the law entitles them to. Our attorneys are up-to-date on all of the critical substantive and procedural changes that may impact their case. Contact our office at 561-567-0298 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our legal team. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.

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