Filing Motions To Resolve The Case Or Narrow Issues

Learn how to file a “motion” (a written request for some type of relief) to get your case – or part of your case - in front of the judge for a decision. You can use motions to try to resolve the case completely. Or you can use them to resolve some specific issue before trial.


Overview

During a civil case, most of your interactions with the judge will be the result of you or the other side filing a written motion. A “motion” is a written request to the judge that asks for a ruling on some issue in the case. (NRCP 7(b); JCRCP 7(b).)

If you want to file a motion, the process is generally something like this:
1. You write your motion
2. You file your motion with the court clerk
3. The court clerk inserts the date and time your motion will be heard by the judge
4. You “serve” (mail) your motion to the other side
5. The other side files a written opposition to your motion with the court
6. You file a reply in support of your motion with the court
7. The judge conducts a hearing and makes a decision
8. The judge signs a written order granting or denying your motion
10. You file the signed order with the court clerk
11. You mail a notice of entry of the order to all the parties in the case

To learn more, click to jump to one of these sections below:
Motion basics 
Motions for summary judgment 
Preparing a reply in support of your motion 
Preparing an order and notice of entry

TIP! It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you’ve received a motion or you're thinking of filing one. Motions are powerful tools, but they’re tricky. Winning a motion might win the entire case for you! But losing a motion could result in a money judgment against you. Click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help.

If you received a motion filed by the other side and need to file an opposition, click to visit Opposing a Motion Filed Against You for forms and information.


Motion Basics

Under the court’s rules, a motion must:

  • Be in writing (NRCP 7(b); JCRCP 7(b))
  • State exactly what grounds you have for the request you are making

This is called a “memorandum of points and authorities.” The memorandum is where you set out the facts of the case, the relevant law, and your analysis of the facts and the law, all of which supports whatever request you are making.

If you fail to support your motion with a memorandum of points and authorities, the court could deny the motion because you have implicitly admitted there is no basis for it. (EDCR 2.20(c); JCRLV 11(a).)

  • State specifically what you are asking for and what you want the judge to order
  • Be signed by you
  • Contain a “notice of motion” (EDCR 2.20(b); JCRLV 22.5(a))

The “notice of motion” is where the court clerk inserts the date, time, and place the motion will be heard by the judge. When you “serve” (mail) the motion to the other side, the notice notifies the other side when the hearing will be held.

FYI! If you’re filing a motion in the Las Vegas Justice Court, your notice of motion must contain specific language found in the court’s rules. For more information, click to visit Justice Court Rules and review Rule 22.5 of the Local Rules of Practice for the Las Vegas Justice Court.

  • Attach copies of the evidence or affidavits necessary to support your motion

Most motions are supported by some kind of evidence. Your evidence could be a contract, photographs, e-mails between the parties, or any other document that supports your position.

Your evidence could also be an affidavit or declaration in which you state facts and information you know from your own personal knowledge and experience. (NRCP 56(e); JCRCP 56(e); EDCR 2.21(a); JCRLV 11(d).)

Your evidence might also be discovery responses you received from the other side (answers to interrogatories, responses to requests for production, or responses to requests for admissions). (EDCR 2.21(a).) Click to visit Discovery Stage: Getting the Information You Need to learn more.

You should discuss your evidence in your memorandum of points and authorities, attach it to your motion, file it with the court, and serve it to the other side. (NRCP 6(d); JCRCP 6(d).)

These are the basic rules that govern motions. But there are different types of motions for different purposes. And additional rules and laws might apply to them. So make sure you are familiar with the requirements for your type of motion.

TIP! If you are considering filing a motion, go to your local law library and read the Nevada Civil Practice Manual’s chapter on motions. This manual does a good job of collecting and breaking down a lot of complicated material. Click to visit Law Libraries.

The Self-Help Center has a generic motion form you can use to file a very basic motion. The form is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below. Keep in mind this generic form may need to be modified to fit your case and situation and the type of motion you are filing.

JUSTICE COURT MOTION (GENERIC) 
Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT MOTION (GENERIC) 
Word Nonfillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

For tips on filling out legal forms, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

After you complete your motion, you must file it with the court. To learn more, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

You may have to pay a filing fee when you submit your motion to the court clerk. For more information, click to visit Filing Fees and Waivers.

When you file your motion, the court clerk will insert the date, time, and place of the hearing on your motion. You must then “serve” (mail) a copy of your filed motion (including all exhibits and the date, time, and place of hearing) to all other parties in the case. If a party is represented by an attorney, mail the motion directly to the attorney’s office.

TIP! If you’re using the Self-Help Center form, make sure you complete the “certificate of service” on the last page before you file the motion with the court. This is your certification that you have (or will) mail the motion to all parties.


Motions For Summary Judgment

A motion for summary judgment is a powerful tool. It is one of the most frequently used motions, but also one of the most complicated.

In the motion, you are trying to prove (by sworn statements, documents, and other evidence) that there are no genuine issues of material fact remaining to go to trial, and that you are entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

A “genuine issue of material fact” means that a critical fact in the case is in dispute. For example, in a case to collect money, if one party claims the money has not been paid, but the other party claims it has (and assuming both have some evidence), whether the money has or has not been paid is a genuine issue of material facts that might prevent summary judgment. Typically, the only way you can know which facts are “material” is to know the elements of the claim you are trying to prove (or defend against). To learn more, click to visit Evaluating and Researching the Case.

As part of your motion, you must submit a statement of undisputed facts to the court. Set out each undisputed fact separately in a separately numbered paragraph and refer to any evidence that supports that fact. You can refer to any evidence the court could consider if there were a trial.

Your motion must also have a legal argument section that analyzes the facts and the law and explains the basis for the motion. The court will likely require oral argument on the motion so the judge can question the parties (or their lawyers) about this analysis.

If you are filing a summary judgment motion, familiarize yourself with Rule 56 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (if your case is in district court) or Rule 56 of the Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure (if your case is in justice court). Click to visit Rules and Laws.

TIP! For a more detailed discussion of summary judgment, go to your local law library and study the Nevada Civil Practice Manual. Click to visit Law Libraries.

A generic Motion for Summary Judgment form is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can also download the form by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (GENERIC) 
Pdf Nonfillable | Instructions 

DISTRICT COURT MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (GENERIC) 
Pdf Fillable | Instructions 

For tips on filling out legal forms, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

After you complete your motion, you must file it with the court. To learn about filing, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

You may have to pay a filing fee when you submit your motion to the court clerk. For more information, click to visit Filing Fees and Waivers.

When you file your motion, the court clerk will insert the date, time, and place of the hearing on your motion. You must then “serve” (mail) a copy of your filed motion (including all exhibits and the date, time, and place of hearing) to all other parties in the case. If a party is represented by an attorney, mail the motion directly to the attorney’s office.

TIP! If your case is in the district court and the other side files a written opposition to your motion, you must deliver a courtesy copy of your motion, the opposition, and your reply (see below) to the judge’s chambers at least five days before the hearing date. (EDCR 2.20(g).)


Preparing A Reply In Support Of Your Motion

When the other side receives your motion in the mail, she has ten business days (plus three calendar days) to file a written opposition to your motion with the court. You should receive a copy of the other side’s opposition in the mail.

FYI! If the other side has filed a motion against you and you need to file an opposition, click to visit Opposing a Motion Filed Against You for more information.

When you receive the other side’s opposition, you have one more chance to file something with the court. You can file a “reply” to the opposition to support your motion.

Filing a reply is not mandatory. But it might be a good idea if the other side has raised arguments in the opposition that you believe need some response.

TIP! Don’t raise new arguments or introduce new evidence in your reply. Typically, you’re only supposed to respond to what the other side says in in the opposition.

Your deadline for filing a reply depends on which court your case is in.

  • If you are in the district court, you can file and serve a reply any time up to five business days before the hearing date. (EDCR 2.20(h).)

You must deliver a courtesy copy of your motion, the opposition, and your reply to the judge’s chambers at least five days before the hearing date. (EDCR 2.20(g).)

  • If your case is in justice court, you can file and serve a reply within five business days after you receive the other side’s opposition (plus three extra calendar days if you receive the opposition by mail). (JCRLV 11(c); RJCR 9(4).)

A generic reply form is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below.

DISTRICT COURT REPLY (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

JUSTICE COURT REPLY (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

For tips on filling out legal forms, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

After you complete your motion, you must file it with the court and mail a copy to the other side. Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing to learn more.


Preparing An Order And Notice Of Entry

At or after the hearing, the judge will make a decision on your motion. The judge might write an order on your motion herself. Or she might direct one of the parties to prepare the order for her signature. An “order” is the written decision or judgment that grants or denies your motion and is signed by the judge and filed with the court.

A generic order form is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT ORDER (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable |Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT ORDER (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

Once the judge signs the order, you must file it with the court clerk. Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing to learn more.

After the order is filed, prepare a Notice of Entry of Order, attach the signed order to the notice, file the Notice of Entry of Order with the court clerk, and mail the filed notice to all parties in the case.

A Notice of Entry form is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the form by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER 
Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER 
Pdf Nonfillable 

To learn more about filling out legal forms and filing with the court, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.