Summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party without a full trial.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary judgment for federal courts. Under Rule 56, in order to succeed in a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show 1) that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and 2) that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
"Material fact" refers to any facts that could allow a fact-finder to decide against the movant.
Partial Summary Judgment
Judges may grant partial summary judgment. For example, a judge might rule on some factual issues, but leave others for trial. Alternately, a judge might grant summary judgment regarding liability, but still hold a trial to determine damages.
When considering a motion for summary judgment, a judge will view all evidence in the light most favorable to the movant's opponent.
Granting the Motion
If the motion is granted, there will be no trial. The judge will immediately enter judgment for the movant.