In Harris vs. J.B. Robinson Jewelers, a published opinion, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's Opinion granting Defendant, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, summary disposition. Plaintiff alleged that when she took her wedding ring, featuring a 2 carat pink diamond, to Defendant for sizing, the pink diamond was replaced with a smaller, colorless stone. To support her claim, Plaintiff presented affidavits of three witnesses who attested to seeing the pink diamond at one time or another.
Defendant filed a motion for summary and supported the motion with an affidavit from a gem expert. The expert's affidavit stated that the gem currently in the ring was cut manually, and was consistent with the style of ring Plaintiff's husband would have purchased in 1973. The expert further indicated that the ring's color characteristic would have been printed on Plaintiff's warranty because rare coloring drastically affects the value of a stone -- but it was not.
The District Court granted Defendant's motion, reasoning that Plaintiff failed to present admissible evidence supporting her claim. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit majority reiterated the standard for summary disposition, emphasizing that all evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non moving party. In this case, the affidavits of three witnesses, although not expert witnesses, were admissible and created a genuine issue of material fact as to Plaintiff's claim.
In his strenuous dissent, Judge Guy opined that the majority ignored the "overarching principle of what is necessary for a plaintiff to defeat a well-pleaded motion for summary judgment." He continued, "there is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." He noted that Defendant presented a "tsunami" of evidence that Plaintiff's claim could not survive.
Whether this opinion clarifies or confuses the standard for summary motions is certainly debatable -- but one thing is sure --the appellate victory for this in pro per Plaintiff is definitely a diamond in the rough.