By: Frank A. Shephard, Shareholder
Florida – April 30, 2021 – On April 29, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion replacing the Florida summary judgment rule, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510, in its entirety with its federal counterpart, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The replacement is accompanied by additional modifications to make the Florida rule more robust than the federal rule.
At the end of last year, the Court sought to achieve the same result by adding the following sentence to the end of the longstanding Florida rule: “The summary judgment standard provided for in this rule shall be construed and applied in accordance with the federal summary judgment standard articulated in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986); and Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986).” The Court felt that adopting the federal rule verbatim would help prevent confusion in its application in the future. The full opinion can be reviewed here.
As the opinion explains, the overall idea of the adoption of the federal rule is to reduce frivolous lawsuits and make litigation more economical by weeding out unmeritorious cases earlier in the process.