Summary Judgment Cases In North Carolina

Summary judgment is appropriately granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that any party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. N.C.G.S. 1A-1, Rule 56(c) (1990). A summary judgment movant bears the burden of showing either that: (1) an essential element of the non-movant's claim is nonexistent; (2) the non-movant is unable to produce evidence which supports an essential element of its claim; (3) the non-movant cannot overcome affirmative defenses raised in contravention of its claims. Lyles v. City of Charlotte, 120 N.C. App. 96, 99, 461 S.E.2d 347, 350 (1995), rev'd on other grounds, 344 N.C. 676, 477 S.E.2d 150 (1996). In ruling on such motion, the trial court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, accepting the latter's asserted facts as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in its favor. Kennedy v. Guilford Tech. Community College, 115 N.C. App. 581, 583, 448 S.E.2d 280, 281 (1994).