South Carolina Supreme Court Rejects MSJ “Mere Scintilla” Standard
Despite SC Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)’s “genuine issue of material fact” standard, South Carolina courts have historically adopted a “mere scintilla of evidence” standard, allowing Motions for Summary Judgment to be defeated by what the Court describes as “metaphysical doubt as to material facts.” The Kitchen Planners v. Friedman, et al., Op. No. 28173 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 23, 2023), citing Baughman v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 306 S.C. 101, 410 S.E.2d 537, 545 (S.C. 1991). The Court further clarified that it is “not sufficient for a party to create an inference that is not reasonable or an issue of fact that is not genuine.” Id., citing Town of Hollywood v. Floyd, 403 S.C. 466, 744 S.E.2d 161 (S.C. 2013). How does this affect your claims? Moving forward, a party opposing summary judgment in South Carolina courts should be required to present evidence that “provide[s] a meaningful factual basis on which a factfinder could” find for the non-moving party. This should make summary judgment somewhat easier to obtain, and somewhat more difficult to oppose.
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