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summary adjudication of issues

n. a court order ruling that certain factual issues are already determined prior to trial. This summary adjudication is based upon a motion by one of the parties contending that these issues are settled and need not be tried. The motion is supported by declarations under oath, excerpts from depositions which are under oath, admissions of fact by the opposing party and other discovery, as well as a legal argument (points and authorities). The other party may respond by counter-declarations and legal arguments attempting to show that these issues were "triable issues of fact." If there is any question as to whether there is conflict on the facts on an issue, the summary adjudication must be denied regarding that matter. The theory behind this summary process is to reduce the number of factual questions which will require evidence at trial and eliminate one or more causes of action in the complaint or conversely find a judgment for plaintiff. The motion for summary adjudication of issues often accompanies the broader motion for summary judgment, which can result in judgment on the entire complaint or some causes of action before the trial starts. The pleading procedures are extremely technical and complicated and are particularly dangerous to the party against whom such a motion is made.

See also: summary judgment 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications