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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3121
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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This is a civil rights question... My lawyer and I are attempting

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This is a civil rights question...

My lawyer and I are attempting to sue the police (1983) and DA's office (1985 conspiracy) in federal court. My lawyer has described mine as a "good case" but with the chief difficulty of "piercing the qualified immunity shield". He said that should we survive the other side's motion for summary judgment that my case would "almost certainly go to trial". What do you think my lawyer meant by this statement? What would it imply? Wouldn't the other side wish to settle? Why trial of a certainty?

If a case survives a motion for summary judgment that means there are questions of fact that need to be resolved. And these questions of fact are resolved by a jury. That is what your attorney meant when he said if the case survives summary judgment, it would almost certainly go to trial. Now it is possible that if defendants lose the summary judgment motion they may wish to settle. I don't think necessarily that your attorney meant that with certainty the case would go to trial. It is just that if the case survives summary judgment issues of fact need to be resolved and that is what a jury does. Whether or not the defendants offer a settlement depends on their particular view of the case and whether or not it is worth their time and effort to take the case all the way to a jury.

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