Summary Judgment Standard in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Under Maryland Rule 2-501(a), summary judgment is only appropriate where there is no dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Therefore a motion for summary judgment should be denied where the opposing party has shown that “there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact by proffering facts which would be admissible as evidence.” Beatty v. Trailmasters Products, Inc., 330 Md. 726, 737 (1993). “A material fact is a fact the resolution of which will somehow affect the outcome of the case.” Carter v. Aramark Sports and Entertainment, 153 Md.App. 210, 224 (2003) (quoting Sterling v. Johns Hopkins Hosp., 145 Md.App. 161, 167 (2002), cert. denied, 371 Md. 264 (2002)).

“When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the facts, including all inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the opposing party.” Carter, 153 Md.App. at 224, (citing Sterling, 145 Md. App. at 168, quoting Jones v. Mid-Atlantic Funding Co., 362 Md. 661, 676 (2001)). “The moving party bears the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Carter, 153 Md.App. at 224, (citing Sterling, 145 Md.App. at 168, citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970)), therefore the Defendant must show the absence of disputed facts. Furthermore, the standard is such that the trial court is not to draw inferences in favor of the moving party. Rather, if the facts are undisputed, but these facts “are susceptible of more than one permissible inference, the choice between those inferences should not be made as a matter of law.” Carter, 153 Md.App. at 225, (citing, Porter v. General Boiler Casing Co., 284 Md. 402, 413 (1979), quoting Fenwick Motor Co. v. Fenwick, 258 Md. 134, 138 (1970)).

For more information about summary judgment in Maryland, please contact Maryland Super Lawyer and adjunct professor Andrew G. Slutkin.

Contact Information