Often, details of a civil lawsuit are heard by the court before the full trial occurs. These pre-trial motions deal with issues that need to be addressed before a case is heard by the judge or jury including the admissibility of evidence, whether the case is before the right court, and even whether there’s a valid lawsuit. In general, pre-trial motions shorten the trial itself and set boundaries around the litigation.
Not all civil cases will include pre-trial motions and whether to do a motion is often a tactical decision your litigation attorney will discuss with you. Here are a handful of common pre-trial motions you may hear about.
- Motion to Dismiss: Arguing the court should dismiss
the case altogether without hearing the evidence at trial. This request is made
for a variety of reasons including the fact that the case is in the wrong
court, service of process was not proper, or the plaintiff failed to state a
- 12(b)6 Failure to State a Claim: This is a specific type of motion
to dismiss where the plaintiff failed to state a claim for which the court can
grant relief. The court has the ability to do many things, but you do have to
specifically tell them what you want and that has to be within their power to
- Motion for Summary Judgement: This motion occurs after the
discovery process and argues that, after the court has reviewed both sides of
the issue, there is no genuine issues of material fact. Summary judgement
motions can cover the entire case or simply pertain to certain claims within the
plaintiff’s lawsuit, limiting the scope of the trial going forward.
- Motion in Limine: What evidence is and is not
presented in trial is hotly contested as parties feel that a certain piece of
evidence or certain testimony will best illustrate their case. This motion asks
the court to rule whether or not a certain piece of evidence can be presented
at trial. While there are rules of evidence that guide judges and lawyers
throughout the process, if there’s evidence that may be objectionable then the
parties may enter a motion in limine to try to prevent the introduction of the
evidence in trial for fear it will sway the jury even over the judge’s
instructions to disregard.
- Change of Venue: If the lawsuit was filed in an
improper venue, or the defendant believes another venue may be better suited,
then they will file a motion arguing to the court why their preferred venue is
correct. These motions often move lawsuits between state and federal court and
even between states.
- Motion for Default Judgement: If a lawsuit is filed and properly served and the defendant does not answer the lawsuit or fails to respond later in the litigation, the plaintiff can then petition the court to issue a default judgement in their favor.
If you’re facing a business lawsuit, reach out to the experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.