Effective May 1, 2021, Florida’s summary final judgment standard under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.510 now aligns with the federal summary judgment standard under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. In re Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510, 309 So. 3d 192, 194 (Fla. 2020). With this amendment, Florida joins the supermajority of states (39 in total) which adopted the federal standard for summary judgment.
The Court noted three “consequential differences” between Florida’s jurisprudence and federal jurisprudence that it intended to eliminate with the amendment: (1) Florida will now use the same inquiry for motions for summary judgment and directed verdict. (2) There will no longer be a requirement that the moving party on summary judgment negate the opponent’s claim via “affidavits or other similar materials.” (3) “[M]erely colorable” evidence or evidence that is “not significantly probative” will not create a “genuine issue of material fact” preventing summary judgment.
This amendment to Rule 1.510 is a welcome change in Florida’s procedural policy which tended to disfavor the summary judgment procedure. Implementation of this procedural change and relaxed standard should be smooth given the vast amount of federal and state jurisprudence available to guide us through the process.
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