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What Is a Motion for Judgment?

A legal party might enter a motion for judgment to bring a case to a close.
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  • Written By: C. Peete
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2014
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A motion for judgment, commonly referred to as a motion for summary judgment, is a legal document that is submitted to the court and requests a judgment in the favor of the moving party. The motion for judgment consists of three parts: a notice of motion for summary judgment, which should clearly state the legal basis for the motion; a statement of uncontroverted material facts, which should explain in numbered paragraphs each material fact that the moving party feels is not a legal or factual issue and has copies of affidavits, exhibits and all discovery pertaining to the motion attached; and a legal memo summarizing why the motion for summary judgment should be granted.

The party requesting the motion for judgment must provide written declarations, depositions, admissions of fact and answers to written interrogatories claiming that all factual and legal issues can be decided in the moving party’s favor. The party opposing the motion must respond within a specified time frame and provide legal documentation, such as affidavits and sworn statements, to support claims that legal and factual issues exist and warrant a trial. If it is determined that such issues are found, the moving party’s motion for judgment is denied, and the case goes to trial. In some cases, the motion could be rendered inappropriate if it is determined that a jury might rule in favor of the opposing party.

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A motion for judgment often is filed in situations where the evidence presented weighs more favorably toward one party. It also is filed when one party lacks enough evidence to win if the case goes to trial. It is also filed when one or both parties want to resolve a dispute without going through the lengthy and costly process of a trial.

To file a motion for judgment, the moving party prepares a motion form. Depending on the state where the party resides, a proposed order form might also need to be filed. These forms can be downloaded from the Internet.

In some states, a motion can be filed via certified mail to the court and all parties involved. In other states, the motion must be filed in person through an official process server. The time frame for serving a motion for judgment varies by state but usually is about 28 days.

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