Every Type of Motion – request a specific Court Order:


l. A written or oral application requesting a court to make a specified ruling or order.  aka application. [1]

     Excerpt from John C. Townes’ Studies in American Elementary Law:

     “Frequently, in the progress of litigation, it is desired to
have the court take some action which is incidental to the main proceeding, as appointing an auditor, or entering a survey of land, etc.  Such action is invoked by an application usually less formal than the pleadings, and called a motion.  These are either oral or in writing. Sometimes great particularity is required, and the truth of the matters presented must be supported by affidavit (Fed. R. Crim. P. 47). Each kind of motion is dealt with as justice and expediency seem to require.[2]

i. Related Terms:

  • Move  vb. To make an application for a ruling order, or some other judicial action <the appellant moved the court for a new trial>
  • Movant  someone who makes a motion to the court or deliberative body. Also termed moving party; mover.
  • Motion Day – a day regularly scheduled by courts or commissions to hear all motions, such as every Tuesday or the third Monday of the month.

ii. Types of Motions:

General Descriptive Terms:

  • Contradictory Motion – a motion likely to be contested or that the non-moving side should have an opportunity to contest
  • Cross-motion – a competing request for relief or orders similar, but contradictory to that requested by another party
  • Dilatory Motion – meritless, made solely to delay the proceedings
  • Enumerated Motion – directly related to the proceeding or the merits of the case

Pretrial Motionsmade before the trial

Midtrial Motionsmade during the proceedings, before the final judgment

Posttrial Motionsmade after a final judgment is entered

Versatile Motionscircumstantially applicable pretrial, midtrial, or posttrial

  • Motion to Dismiss – due to settlement, voluntary withdrawal, or one of several procedural defects
  • Motion to Quash – request the court nullify process or an act instituted by the other party or previous court decision (i.e. nullify a warrant or subpoena)
  • Omnibus Motion – request multiple forms of relief
  • Motion to Divide the Question – to break a long or complex motion, into shorter motions to be considered independently
  • Motion to Remand – in a case that has been removed from state court to federal court, a party’s request that the federal court return the case to state court, usually because the federal court lacks jurisdiction or because the procedures for removal were not properly followed
  • Motion to Withdraw – attorney’s request for a court’s permission to cease representing a client

Motions Pertaining to Bankruptcy, Patents, & Trademarks

  • Motion to Lift the Stay – request a bankruptcy court alter the automatic bankruptcy stay to allow the movant to act against the debtor’s property, as when a creditor seeks permission to foreclose
  • Motion to Correct Inventorship – add one or more unnamed co-inventors to a patent application
  • Motion to Dissolve Interference – request by the senior patent-holding party to dismiss challenges to its priority as the first inventor
  • Motion for Protective Order – request the court protect you from a potentially abusive action by the other party, usually relating to protecting Trade Secrets from being open to the public through Discovery

     “What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” [3]

Steve Jobs

Special thanks to Mercy O’ Hannon on Pinterest for uploading the above art piece we’re utilizing in accordance with Fair Use.


[1]: All definitions from: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: John C. Townes, Studies in American Elementary Law
621 (1911).

[3]:  Brainy Quote, Steve Jobs’ quote:  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stevejobs416921.html


Learn More:

All Writs

All Orders

Rules of Procedure

Intro to Law

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