A dispositive motion is commonly of two types — a motion to dismiss the case and a motion for summary judgment. Essentially, a dispositive motion requests a court order to dispose of one or multiple claims so that further court proceedings are no longer required for those claims. As mentioned, a dispositive motion can ask the court to dispose of the entire lawsuit. Indictments can be dismissed or quashed on the basis of a dispositive motion.
Dispositive motions are subject to scheduling orders that are set to a deadline. This means that dispositive motions have to be passed within a time frame. This is of particular significance in cases where the defendant fails to present his side of the case or to file a motion to dismiss the case within the specific period. In such cases, the plaintiff can initiate the procedure known as entry of default. It can lead to a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
A dispositive motion raised to plead the dismissing of a case is one way of testing the strength of the allegations made by the other party. When a lawyer requests a motion of this kind, he is basically raising a question about the strength of the allegations made. Are they strong enough to sustain the case? If the judge and jury feel that the allegations have merit, then the dispositive motion is dismissed otherwise the case is dismissed.
Other scenarios that can lead to a motion to dismiss include the court not having jurisdiction over the contentious subject. If the matter is such that a probate court should be deciding it and not a civil court, then a motion to dismiss can be filed. Second, if the court does not have jurisdiction to pass judgments that may affect the subject personally, then too, such a motion may be passed. A case can also be dismissed of procedural lapses or technical errors can be proved.
A summary judgement motion is another kind of dispositive motion which unlike the one designed to test the strength of allegations looks specifically into the facts of the matter. This motion helps ascertain the presence of disputed facts and the need for a jury trial. A summary judgement motion does not replace a jury trial. The Seventh Amendment guarantees a citizen’s right to a jury trial.
It is important that lawyers know how to use dispositive motions to the advantage of their clients, and also to prevent the other party from invoking dispositive motions to get a case dismissed. It can be the difference between getting justice on your negligence claim and having it dismissed.
The Law Offices of Alex. R. Hernandez Jr. know how and when to use dispositive motions to their client’s advantage. The move involves a thorough study of the merits of the case and the understanding of law so that a motion moved on behalf of clients has the best chance of succeeding.
There is a growing trend toward early dismissal of cases. It is in your interests to have an appellate counsel skilled in defending and attacking summary dispositions, as the case may be. A lawyer knows procedural pitfalls to avoid, failing which the higher courts may be unable to assess arguments based on merits. This means that a lawyer opposing a dispositive motion must be absolutely sure about the arguments to present in the trial court. Any arguments left out during the trial court proceedings may not be admissible in the higher court even if they have merit.