© D.L. Crumbley
Motion: Requests a rule or order in favor of the applicant
Source: Babitsky et. al, The Comprehensive Forensic Manual, Seak, Inc., www.seak.com
Motion to dismiss: The moving party is requesting that a cause of action be dismissed because the alleged facts, even if proven, do not constitute a valid legal claim.
Motion for a directed verdict: The moving party requests at trial that a cause of action be dismissed because the party with the burden of proof has failed to establish sufficient facts so that a reasonable fact finder (e.g., the jury) could find in the claimant’s favor. For example, in a complex toxic tort case, the plaintiff’s only expert witness is barred from testifying as to causation under the Daubert rule. After the plaintiff rests, the defense moves for a directed verdict on the grounds that the plaintiff has not submitted sufficient proof of causation through an expert witness.
Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict: This motion is made by the losing party after an adverse jury verdict. The moving party is asking that the judge reverse the verdict of the jury. These motions may be granted if the judge determines that the jury verdict had no reasonable support in fact or was contrary to law.
Motion for a continuance: The moving party is requesting that a scheduled event, for example a hearing or trial, be postponed or continued to a later date.
Motion in limine: The moving party is requesting that evidence it expects the opposing side to offer be held inadmissible. For example, a party may make a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of an expert for failure to comply with the Daubert rule.
Motion for summary judgment: The moving party is requesting, prior to trial, and based solely on documentary evidence (including expert deposition transcripts, reports, and affidavits), that the court grant judgment in its favor because no material facts are in dispute. This device is used to throw a case out of court without it ever getting to the jury. Many times a lawyer with a weak case will seek to survive summary judgment in order to be able to settle the case on favorable terms over the threat of a jury trial.