Our Orlando Injury Attorneys Explain Your Court Case Beginning to End
Part 4: Court Motions
The following is part four of our series outlining a basic personal injury case from beginning to end. Previously we discussed:
- Part 1: Meeting With an Attorney for the First Time: What You Can Expect?
- Part 2: Beginning the Lawsuit through Initial Court Papers
- Part 3: What is Discovery?
This month we discuss Court Motions and will explain some of the legal documents required leading up to your Trial.
Note: This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as formal legal advice.
Once a lawsuit is filed, it progresses toward trial according to the Rules of Procedure. One aspect of the rules concerns the subject of “motions”.
A motion is the legal term for a request, usually in writing, by an attorney to the Court. The request may be from either side, Plaintiff or Defendant, and it can deal with a wide range of issues. As a rule, a party is asking the Court to either grant its request for something, or to question, limit and, in some cases, to block an action or request for information sought by the opposing party.
Two basic types of motions are often part of most cases. A nondispositive motion is a motion that requests the Court’s intervention on a matter in the ongoing litigation. An example of a nondispositive motion is a Motion to Extend Time to Answer Interrogatories. Basically, you are asking the Court to extend the thirty-day period the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure give you to answer questions served by a defendant.
What are Disposition Motions?
A dispositive motion is a motion whose outcome could end your case. Three examples of such a motion are: Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion for Default Judgment.
A Motion to Dismiss is usually filed in the beginning of a case before the parties get started with discovery – the process of gathering facts and evidence about the matter in dispute. Generally, the motion to dismiss is based on deficiencies in the complaint. A motion to dismiss could be based on:
- Lack of subject matter jurisdiction (the court you filed the complaint in cannot rule on this particular case)
- Lack of personal jurisdiction (the defendant does not have enough contacts in the jurisdiction where the lawsuit has been filed for the court to accept jurisdiction)
- Improper venue (the lawsuit was filed in the wrong location)
- Insufficient service of process (there was a technical or other defect as to manner in which the complaint was served on the defendant)
- Failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted (the defendant is claiming that they do not have a legal responsibility under the circumstances stated in your complaint).
A Motion for Default Judgment is a motion that can end the case because the defendant is in default. A default means that the defendant didn’t answer the complaint and failed to file a motion in place of an answer. Once a default is filed, a defendant can ask the court to vacate the default. Usually the Court prefers to grant a motion to vacate default so the case can be contested on its merits instead of entering a judgment against the defendant without a trial on the merits.
Contact our Orlando Injury Attorneys Today
To learn more about the court process, consult the other parts of the series listed below, or contact our Orlando injury lawyers by calling 1-800-235-7060. You can also submit a contact form to schedule a free consultation with us. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients since opening our firm nearly 50 years ago.