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The Days Of The “Scintilla” Of Evidence Summary Judgment Standard In Florida Are Numbered

June 26, 2020

This article was originally published in the FDLA Trial Advocate, Volume 39, No. 2. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510, addressing summary judgment proceedings, is modeled after its federal counterpart, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Although the two rules are substantially similar, the state and federal case law interpreting them could not be more different. Under the federal case law, developed in the Celotex trilogy, the summary judgment standard closely mirrors the directed verdict standard. Under the Florida case law, the “merest possibility” of genuine issues of material fact, or the “slightest doubt,” or a “scintilla of evidence” opposing summary judgment, requires the denial of such a motion…