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Not all Evidence is Good Evidence to Defeat Summary Judgment: Failure to Identify Evidence by Formal Notice Bars Reliance on Opposition Evidence Even if its Already in the Record

Summary Judgment is a standard procedure designed to resolve disputes where there remain no material factual disputes in the case. The evidence supporting those facts must be in the record. However, just because the facts are in the record does not mean that the trial court may consider them.

In yet another case crystalizing the technical procedures of Rule 1.510(c), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, a recent opinion has confirmed that a party opposing a motion for summary judgment may not rely upon evidence in the record to dispute material facts unless it files a notice identifying the evidence upon which the party relies.

In the recent case of Hunt v. SCI Funeral Services of Florida, LLC, 2020 WL 564829 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), the Third District Court of Appeal held that the trial court was precluded from considering any of the evidence presented at the summary judgment hearing – despite the evidence already being in the court record – where the evidence was not properly noticed as required by Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.510(c).

Fla.R.Civ. 1.510(c) provides that: “[t]he adverse party must identify, by notice . . . any summary judgment evidence on which the adverse party relies.” (emphasis added). The Third District confirmed that this rule is mandatory even if the evidence is already in the record.

This case should serve as a reminder of how important the little things are when litigating important matters. Rosenthal Law Group is available to assist clients with their litigation needs.