What is a Motion?

Motions are a key part of just about every type of court case. This article discusses Motions in the Iowa and Illinois legal systems.

A Motion is the process through which an attorney asks the court to take or refrain from taking some particular action. Motions can resolve relatively minor issues in case, and they can also be of great importance for a case. Indeed, the outcome of a Motion may have a ripple effect that determines the outcome of a case, making such Motions the most important part of the case.

Generally speaking, a Motion is filed with the court and served upon the other party (or parties) to the case. The party who filed the Motion is referred to as the moving party. The party who did not file the Motion is referred to as the non-moving party. The non-moving party is generally afforded an opportunity to submit a written response to the Motion. Many Motions are then set for hearing, which is a time when the judge will listen to the legal arguments of the attorneys and decide whether to grant or deny the motion. Sometimes, motions are handled by the court without a hearing, and the judge will rule on the Motion based upon the written pleadings.

Some common Motions in a various cases in Iowa and Illinois:

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Handling a Motion hearing properly can be the difference between a favorable and unfavorable outcome to a case.  As such, anyone who has a Motion hearing coming up in their case is well advised to seek an attorney before the hearing.  As an attorney who handles cases in Iowa and Illinois, I can think of numerous clients over the years who have experienced harm to their cases due to an attempt to represent themselves at a Motion hearing early in a case, based upon the mistaken belief that it was just a “minor” hearing that they could handle on their own.