What is the Difference: Motion to Dismiss vs Motion for Summary Judgment
Typically, a defendant has two opportunities to get rid of a lawsuit before it goes to trial. The first is a motion to dismiss, which is filed shortly after a complaint is filed. The second is a motion for summary judgment, typically filed after discovery is completed.
A motion to dismiss essentially asserts that the plaintiff has failed to state a viable cause of action. Typical examples are where a plaintiff fails to (or cannot) set forth all of the necessary elements of a claim or misses the statute of limitations.
The motion for summary judgment is typically filed after the parties have completed discovery (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, document demands, etc.). A motion for summary judgment will be granted where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. If there is a dispute as to any material fact, the court is bound to side with the “non-moving party” (typically the plaintiff) on any such dispute. Also, the court doesn't make any judgments about who is more believable – that is left to the jury.
A defendant’s chances of winning a motion for summary judgment are considerably greater than on a motion to dismiss. If the motion for summary judgment fails, the complaint survives and the case proceeds to trial. So there you have it, the whole "motion to dismiss vs motion for summary judgment" in a nutshell. If you have any questions, please contact Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC.