Civil Procedure II, Pages 593–596

Bias v. Advantage International, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, June 15, 1990

Facts:

Leonard Bias was a college basketball player represented by defendant. Fentress was defendant's representative servicing Bias. Bias was drafted by the Boston Celtics, but then died two days later of a cocaine overdose. Bias's estate sued defendant, alleging that Bias and his parents direct Fentress to obtain a one-million dollar life insurance policy for Bias, and Fentress did not. However, the claim that he told them that he had, so they did not take one out on reliance of Fentress.

Procedural History:

District Court awarded defendants' summary judgment because the estate did not suffer any damage because defendants could not have obtained a one-million dollar policy on Bias even if they tried since Bias was a cocaine user. No insurance company would have accepted him without misrepresentation, and misrepresentation would have voided the policy.

Issue:

Is there a genuine issue as to Bias's insurability?

Plaintiff's Argument:

There is a genuine issue as to Bias's insurability.

Rules:

  • WestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoLexisNexis IconPage 594, II.

    The Supreme Court has stated that the moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 libellant. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The Supreme Court also explained that summary judgment is appropriate, no matter which party is the moving party, where a party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 322. Thus, the moving party must explain its reasons for concluding that the record does not reveal any genuine issues of material fact, and must make a showing supporting its claims insofar as those claims involve issues on which it will bear the burden at trial.

    Once the moving party has carried its burden, the responsibility then shifts to the nonmoving party to show that there is, in fact, a genuine issue of material fact. The Supreme Court has directed that the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 89 libellant. Ed. 2d 538 (1986) (citations omitted). The nonmoving party "must come forward with 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 587 (citations omitted) (emphasis in original). In evaluating the nonmovant's proffer, a court must of course draw from the evidence all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 libellant. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

  • WestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoLexisNexis IconPage 596, Last Paragraph

    In order to withstand a summary judgment motion once the moving party has made a prima facie showing to support its claims, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.

Reasoning:

  • Two of Bias's teammates saw him use drugs. These instances were not contradicted by plaintiffs, who only provided general testimony that he was not a drug user in general.

  • Plaintiffs could not name one company that did not inquire about drug at some point of the process of taking out a jumbo insurance policy. This shows that they failed in having more than "some metaphysical doubt."

Holding:

Plaintiff failed to come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Affirmed.

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