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Florida Supreme Court Adopts Federal Summary Judgment Standard

On April 29, 2021, the Florida Supreme Court decided that Florida will now follow the federal summary judgment standard and adopt the text of the federal summary judgment rule as opposed to crafting a new Florida-specific rule. However, the court did make one minor change, which includes that a court “shall,” as opposed to the federal rule of “should,” state on the record its reasons for denying or granting a summary judgment motion.

The summary judgment standard will assist legal practitioners in understanding the basis relied upon by the court in rendering its decision. It should also result in a more detailed and concise order that will assist the appellate courts. The new rule is expected to make it easier for judges to grant summary judgment motions.

The new rule states that a summary judgment motion must be filed at least 40 days from the hearing date, and the response must be filed at least 20 days before the hearing. The rule takes effect beginning on May 1, 2021.

The full opinion in Re: Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510, Case No. SC20-1490, can be viewed here.

If you have any questions about the ruling, its impacts, or other legal matters, please contact me.