Summary Judgment Evidence In Ohio
The evidence presented on a motion for summary judgment is always construed in favor of the party opposing the motion who is given the benefit of all favorable inferences that can be drawn from it. Williams v. First United Church of Christ (1974), 37 Ohio St.2d 150, 153, 66 Ohio Op. 2d 311, 309 N.E.2d 924.
As the United States Supreme Court has stated, "on summary judgment the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts contained in the affidavits, exhibits, and depositions must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.
See:" United States v. Diebold, Inc. (1962), 369 U.S. 654, 82 S. Ct. 993, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176; Day v. United Auto., Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of Am., Local 36, UAW (C.A.6, 1972), 466 F.2d 83, 99; Equal Emp. Opportunity Comm. v. United Assn. of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States & Canada, Local No. 189. (C.A.6, 1970), 427 F.2d 1091, 1093.
a summary judgment should be used cautiously so that a litigant's right to trial is not usurped. Norris v. Ohio Std. Oil Co. (1982), 70 Ohio St.2d 1, 2, 24 O.O.3d 1, 433 N.E.2d 615.
In considering a motion for summary judgment, the narrow question the court must decide is whether there is a "genuine issue as to any material fact and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Civ.R. 56(C).
The court cannot try issues of fact on a Rule 56 motion but is empowered to determine only whether there are any issues to be tried. In re Atlas Concrete Pipe, Inc. (C.A.6, 1982), 668 F.2d 905, 908. the rule imposes a heavy burden upon the party seeking summary judgment to show the absence of issues of material fact. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co. (1970), 398 U.S. 144, 153, 90 S. Ct. 1598, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett (1986), 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265. See, also, Mitseff v. Wheeler (1988), 38 Ohio St.3d 112, 114, 526 N.E.2d 798.
The moving party bears the burden of affirmatively showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Mitseff supra, at 115, 526 N.E.2d 798.
Moreover, a party seeking summary judgment on the ground that the nonmoving party cannot prove its case bears the initial burden of informing the trial court of the basis for the motion and identifying evidence in the record of the type outlined in Civ.R. 56, which demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact on the essential elements of the nonmoving party's claims. Dresher v. Burt (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 662 N.E.2d 264.
Summary judgment is appropriate only if reasonable minds can only conclude, based on the evidence, that judgment for the movant is appropriate.
The burden of establishing that no genuine issues of any material fact remain to be litigated is on the party moving for summary judgment. Turner v. Turner (1993), 67 Ohio St. 3d 337, 340, 617 N.E.2d 1123; Fyffe v. Jeno's, Inc. (1991), 59 Ohio St. 3d 115, 120, 570 N.E.2d 1108.
Once a party moves for summary judgment and has supported his or her motion by sufficient and acceptable evidence, the party opposing the motion has a reciprocal burden to respond by affidavit or as provided in Civil Rule 56(C), setting forth specific facts explaining that a genuine issue of material fact exists for trial. Jackson v. Alert Fire & Safety Equip., Inc. (1991), 58 Ohio St. 3d 48, 52, 567 N.E.2d 1027; Mitseff v. Wheeler (1988), 38 Ohio St. 3d 112, 115, 526 N.E.2d 798.