This packet provides general guidance about writing a motion. It can be used in certain civil lawsuits in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Using this template does not guarantee any result in your case.
WHAT IS A MOTION?
Motions are used to ask the court to decide something. Motions must be in writing and served on all other parties who have appeared. If you file a motion, the other parties may file a written response, and then you may file a written reply. Then the court will enter a written order on the motion. Sometimes, the court will set a hearing on the motion to give the parties an opportunity to present oral argument.
CHECKLIST: HOW TO PREPARE A MOTION
- Complete the Declaration. A “declaration” is a statement of facts signed under penalty of perjury.
- Write the facts. In the declaration, write each fact the court needs to know to decide the motion. Write only facts that you know about personally. If a person other than you has personal knowledge of the facts, they may also submit a declaration using the same template.
- Add exhibits as evidence. If you want to attach a document to your declaration as evidence, say what the document is, how you got it, and when. You may want to use this format: “Attached as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of an email I received from plaintiff on June 5, 2017.” Mark each exhibit with a letter or number.
- Review, number the pages and sign. Read the declaration to make sure it is clear, correct, and complete. Fill in the page numbers, sign, and date.
- Complete the Motion.
- Fill in the case caption. List your contact information, the parties’ names, the case number, and the type of motion.
- Issues section. List the things you are asking the court to decide in this motion. There may be one thing, or several. For example:
- To allow you to amend your complaint
- Whether this court is the correct venue for this case
- Whether defendant’s subpoena should be narrowed to cover only certain dates
- Statement of facts section. Repeat each fact stated in the declaration. At the end of each sentence, say where in the declaration the court can find evidence supporting the facts. You may want to use these formats:
- “On June 4, 2017, I called defendant. (Plaintiff Declaration, paragraph 4.)”
- “Plaintiff emailed me on June 5, 2017. (Defendant Declaration, paragraph 5 and Exhibit A.)”
- Argument section. State why the court should decide each issue in your favor and grant your motion. When you mention facts, say where in the declaration the court can find the supporting evidence, just as you did in the facts section. You may add case law or statutes to support your position.
- Respect the page limits. Motions for summary judgment are limited to 30 pages, excluding exhibits. All other types of motions are limited to 24 pages, excluding exhibits.
- Review, number the pages, and sign. Read the motion to make sure it is clear, correct, and complete. Fill in the page numbers, sign, and date.
- Complete the Proposed Order. You may submit a proposed order with your motion. This is the order that you want the court to sign, granting your motion. Briefly state the issues you want the court to rule on in your favor. Do NOT sign or date this document.
- Prepare the Certificate of Service. Each document that you file must be “served” on each other party, usually by sending it in the mail. Follow the instructions on the certificate of service. You can do one certificate of service for all documents you serve with this motion.
- Mark your calendar. If the court sets a hearing on the motion, put the hearing date on your calendar, and be sure to show up at court. You must follow whatever decision is made at or after the hearing and any instructions from the court.
FILING AND SERVING YOUR MOTION PAPERS
- File the Motion. Deliver or mail the motion and any exhibits to the Clerk’s Office at the courthouse where the judge for yow-case is located.
- Serve the Motion. Be sure the motion and exhibits are served on each party.
TIMELINE: AFTER THE MOTION PAPERS ARE FILED
The timeline below lists what generally happens after the Motion is filed.
- Motion filed and served
- Opposition filed (within 14 days, or 21 days if opposing a motion for summary judgment)
- Moving party may file a reply (within 7 days, or 14 days if replying to a motion for summary judgment)
- Court has hearing on motion if needed
- Court sends out a written order deciding whether the motion is granted or denied (no deadline)
STAY UP TO DATE
- Update your contact information. File a notice with the court right away if your address, email, or phone number changes, or you may miss important deadlines, causing you to lose your case.
- Check your mail. Be sure to check regularly for documents from the court and opposing side.
- A list of the documents that have been filed, and in most cases, the documents themselves can be viewed online.
UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS AND RULES
There are other resources for understanding the court’s rules:
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”). These rules explain the procedures from filing through trial for all civil cases in federal courts across the country and are available at: www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/rules-of-civil-procedure.pdf.
- Local Rules. The court’s local rules generally follow the same numbering as the FRCP, but they provide more detail. They apply in the District of Nevada only and are available at: www.nvd.uscourts.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Local-Rules-of-Practice-Amended-2020.pdf.