Anatomy of a Case

Discovery Tools


Whenever a party wishes to request something from the judge in the case, such as a clarification or limitation, they can file a motion in accordance with the rules specified in their state’s civil procedure statutes. This is the way of getting the judge to take notice of the problem, and asking for a judicial ruling.

The problem is that usually, it is required that an argument or brief be filed with the motion and that the motion in many instances be supported with either evidence or legal research or both. All of these things take time and again the expenses for the time often make clients wonder what their attorney is doing.

Often, however, this is a necessary part of the litigation process and the attorney has no choice. Sometimes too, one party is deliberately trying to confuse the issues or delay the process and "run up the legal expenses" for the other party. These things happen in every lawsuit, and often lead to settlements earlier than trial. Most of all, however, they tend to fuel the bad feelings between the parties and hostilities are often heightened. It is important to note that this is part of the legal process and until it is removed from the process, any party is able, within limits, to conduct tactics that often appear harassing.

Certain motions are beyond discovery motions, and can lead to entire cases, or parts of cases, being dismissed. These are loosely referred to here as Motions to Dismiss and Motions for Summary Judgment, but the technical procedures that allow for such a dismissal are numerous in many states.

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