A recent decision from the First District contains some paragraphs you may want to pull out for your next summary judgment brief:
Summary judgment is proper if, and only if, the pleadings, depositions, affidavits and other relevant matters on file show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Prowell v. Loretto Hospital, 339 Ill. App. 3d 817, 822, 791 N.E.2d 1261, 1265 (2003). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, a court must construe the pleadings, admissions and affidavits strictly against the movant and liberally in favor of the opponent. Prowell, 339 Ill. App. 3d at 822, 791 N.E.2d at 1265.
The purpose of summary judgment is not to try a question of fact but to determine if one exists. Gilbert v. Sycamore Municipal Hospital, 156 Ill. 2d 511, 517, 622 N.E.2d 788, 792 (1993). A triable issue precluding summary judgment exists where the material facts are disputed or, where the material facts are undisputed, reasonable persons might draw different inferences from the undisputed facts. Gilbert, 156 Ill. 2d at 518, 622 N.E.2d at 792. Summary judgment should only be allowed when the right of the moving party is clear and free from doubt. Gilbert, 156 Ill. 2d at 518, 622 N.E.2d at 792.
See Eliot v. Williams, No. 98-L-2919 (March 3, 2004). In Eliot, the court reversed a decision by the trial court granting summary judgment for the defendant; the court held there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether the defendant's hiring of a person without doing a background check "was a legal cause, as well as the cause in fact, of the plaintiff's injuries" when the new employee later assaulted the plaintiff.
The opinion also contains an interesting discussion of "proximate cause" and "intervening cause" and which are summary judgment issues. There may be more than one proximate cause for an injury, but "[a] defendant may be held liable even if his negligence is not the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, so long as his conduct contributed in whole or in part to the injury." Proximate cause is normally a jury issue, unless "reasonable men" would be unable to reach different conclusions about undisputed facts.
Thanks for the link goes to the ISBA case digest.