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Which Way Do We Go? Federal vs. State Summary Judgment Standards - Litigation News

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Litigation News

Posted on: May 27, 2015

By Arend J. Abel, Cohen & Malad LLP

In Siner v. Kindred Hospital, decided May 27, the Indiana Court of Appeals appeared to revert to the federal summary judgment standard despite a number of cases to the contrary from the Indiana Supreme Court, including most recently Indiana Restorative Dentistry v. Lavin Insurance Agency, which the Supreme Court decided in March, and Hughley v. State, which the Supreme Court decided last September.

Although the Indiana Supreme Court continues to point out that the Indiana Summary Judgment standard requires a movant to affirmatively negate an element of the non-movant’s claim, today’s decision in Siner says that “A court must grant summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” (citing Briggs v. Finley, 631 N.E.2d 959, 963 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994). That, of course, is the familiar federal standard from Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, which the Indiana Supreme Court expressly rejected more than 20 years ago in Jarboe v. Landmark Community Newspapers. The Court of Appeals articulates the federal standard from time to time, but the Indiana Supreme Court has steadfastly refused to embrace it.

Here are a couple of blog articles discussing the issue before and after the Supreme Court’s decision in Hughley.

This post was written by Arend J. Abel of Cohen & Malad LLP. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Litigation Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at


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