Philly Trial Court Puts Plaintiff to His Proofs.

Philadelphia’s trial courts are often (rightly) given much grief for their failure to require plaintiffs to present sufficient evidence to create a question of fact in opposition to a defendant’s motion for summary judgment. A recent decision in Ortiz v. Cruz, however, belays the popular conception and gives hope to fans of the rule of law everywhere.

In Ortiz, a truck owned by defendant A Plus Family Movers and driven by defendant Efrain Cruz crashed into plaintiff’s car causing injuries and property damages. A lawsuit resulted. At the close of discovery, A Plus moved for summary judgment. It argued that the only evidence in the case suggested that Cruz had stolen the truck and, as such, was not A Plus’s employee when the accident occurred. Plaintiff failed to submit contrary proof and thus the court ruled for A Plus.