What is a Motion?

Motion Practice

A motion is a request to the court to obtain an order on a specific issue. Motions can be made orally at a hearing or in writing.

How does the Motion get decided?

Judges typically enter an order with the rulings on the motion. A Judge enters an Order after reviewing the Motion and/or after hearing the arguments made by the parties with respect to their position. Sometimes, the Court will require a party to draft a proposed order to be submitted for review. If approved, the Judge will sign the order and submit it to the Clerk to be filed as part of the case docket.

Do I have to attend a hearing?

Most motions require a hearing before the Judge makes a decision.

Some motions do not require a hearing. In that case, the Court will make a decision based on the written Motion and any supporting documents submitted.

If a motion calls for a hearing, the attorneys (or pro se litigants) must appear to argue their position.

Almost every motion that is contested will be set for hearing. A motion is contested when the parties do not agree with what is requested in the Motion.

If the parties agree to the request made in the Motion, a hearing may not be required. In that case, it’s typical for a Judge to allow the parties to submit a proposed agreed order to be signed without having a hearing.

What are the most common types of Motions?

  • Motion to Dismiss. This motion requests the Court to dismiss the case on procedural grounds. For example, a party may file a motion to dismiss the Complaint (action) for failure to state a cause of action for which relief may be granted.
  • Motion to Compel: This motion requests the Court to compel a party to act pursuant to a specific rule or previous Court Order. For example, a motion to compel discovery can be used when the responsive party fails to provide discovery within the timeframe.
  • Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ): This motion requests the Court for a final judgment before the trial. A successful MSJ would prove that there is no dispute about the facts, and only a question of law needs to be decided.
  • Motion for Extension of Time: This motion requests the Court for more time to submit a response or pleading by a specific date. Generally speaking, if this is your first request, Courts are most likely going to grant the Motion and give you extra days.


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