When you are involved in any type of civil lawsuit, including a breach of contract matter, employment dispute, or a wrongful death action, there are a few ways to resolve your case. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to reach a resolution through direct negotiations, but if negotiations fail to produce results, your case will be put on a track toward trial. Before going to trial, however, filing certain motions could help your case. If you believe a pretrial motion is appropriate in your case, you should work with a skilled civil litigation attorney who can help you file the motion.
Different motions serve different purposes, and either side of a dispute can initiate one. It is essential to know what kind of motion might apply in your case. Once you and your attorney determine what type of motion is needed, there are a few steps that are necessary to properly file the motion, and it is important to follow them carefully. Some of the most common pretrial motions include:
Motion to Dismiss
If the defendant in a civil suit does not believe that case should proceed to trial, a motion to dismiss may be appropriate. A plaintiff can also file a motion to dismiss if proceeding with the case becomes unnecessary. A plaintiff’s motion to dismiss will almost always be granted, but a defendant’s motion will typically require the court’s careful attention. The basis for a motion to dismiss could be the facts of the case or a procedural issue such as bad service of documents, plaintiffs standing to file suit, or the court’s jurisdiction over the matter. If the motion is granted and the case is dismissed without prejudice means that the case can be refiled, while a dismissal with prejudice prevents the case from being refiled.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Many civil litigation cases can be decided without going to trial with a summary judgment motion. Once an Answer has been filed for the case (the defendant agrees to allow the case to go before a judge instead of making a motion to dismiss), either side can file a motion for summary judgment motion. A motion for summary judgment essentially claims that there are no disputed facts or questions of law and asks the court to issue a ruling in favor of the filing party without the need to hear arguments or review additional evidence. For instance, if you wanted to do this, you would work with your attorney to compile the papers that would provide overwhelming evidence that would prompt a swift decision from the court. However, a court can decide that your documents do not provide sufficient grounds for a summary judgment, and your case can be allowed to proceed.
Before trial, both sides will prepare during a phase called discovery. During discovery, the two parties will exchange information pertinent to the lawsuit, but many issues may arise. Motions during discovery could be used to compel one side to share certain information, to obtain permission to refuse the sharing of certain information, or to quash subpoenas. You could also file a motion for contempt if the other side is refusing to obey a directive from the court. Motions to preclude or strike could be used if you want the court to prevent testimony, evidence, or a pleading from being considered in the case.
Motion to Vacate a Default Judgment
A default judgment is a ruling by the court that is typically made in favor of the plaintiff if the defendant fails to respond after being served with notice of the pending matter. If the defendant wishes to argue that he or she was not properly served or there is another good reason for defaulting, a motion to vacate the default judgment must be filed in order to reopen the case. If the motion is granted, the default judgment will be set aside, and the case can start over.
Contact a Civil Litigation Attorney in New York City
There are many other types of motions that could be used in any civil case, and regardless of which one you think applies to your case, trusted legal guidance is essential. The Joey Jackson Law, PLLC has 20+ years of experience in civil litigation and can help you assemble a strong defense that will stand an excellent chance in court. Call a skilled Manhattan civil litigation lawyer today at 833-JOEY-JAC or 833-563-9522.