Motions


Motions

A motion is a document asking the court to order something in an existing case. You cannot start a case by filing a motion. For example, if you need more than 21 days to answer a complaint or petition, you can file a motion to extend the time to answer. This webpage describes the procedures for motions generally and lists several specific motions, but does not describe the details of those motions. The court does not have any forms for these motions, other than the generic forms listed in the "Forms" section. The "Other Motions" section contains links to webpages for particular motions for which we do have special forms.


Will Your Motion be Decided by a Judge or Commissioner?

Judges may rule on all motions in all types of cases. However, in Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear most matters in divorce cases and several other types of family law cases. Motions decided by a judge and motions decided by a commissioner follow different procedures. If you are not sure whether your case is assigned to a judge or commissioner, find out. Call the court, or look at the caption of the complaint or petition. If a commissioner's name has been listed in the caption, the motion likely will be decided by a commissioner.

Motions decided by a judge are governed by URCP 7. Motions decided by a commissioner are governed by URCP 101.


Motions Decided by a Judge


Moving Party

If you are the party filing the motion, you must complete and file a Motion, a Statement Supporting the Motion and a Memorandum Supporting the Motion. The motion tells the judge what you want. The statement tells the judge why the motion is supported by the facts. The memorandum tells the judge why the motion is supported by the law. You can request a hearing as part of the motion. The judge might grant the request or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing.

The Statement Supporting the Motion is a statement of facts that the judge can use as evidence when deciding the motion. A party can file more than one statement. The statement must be completed by the party or a witness who has first-hand knowledge of the facts being stated. Although no longer filed as an affidavit under oath, the statement is filed under penalty of perjury.

The Memorandum Supporting the Motion explains why the motion is supported by the law. You should cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.

Type or clearly print the Motion, the Statement Supporting the Motion and the Memorandum Supporting the Motion. Make the sentences simple and clear. Be especially clear about what you want the judge to order. Organize the sentences into logically arranged paragraphs. If you make the documents easy to read, the judge will better understand them. The memorandum can be up to 10 double-spaced pages.

If the other party agrees with your motion, work with the other party to complete and file a Stipulation to Enter Order with the motion instead of the statements and memorandum.

If the other party files a Statement Opposing the Motion, you may file a Reply, but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing statement. If the opposing statement and its supporting documents merely make statements of fact and legal arguments against the points you made in your motion, then you cannot file a Reply.

Opposing Party

If you agree with the motion, work with the other party to complete and file a Stipulation to Enter Order. If you oppose the motion, complete and file a Statement Opposing the Motion and its supporting documents. You can request a hearing as part of the Statement Opposing the Motion. The judge might grant the request or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing. If you want the judge to do something other than deny the motion, you have to file your own motion.

The Statement Opposing the Motion identifies the parts of the motion you disagree with. If you disagree with any of the statement of facts in the Statement Supporting the Motion, you or a witness should complete and file a Statement Opposing the Motion. The statement is a statement of facts that the judge can use as evidence when deciding the motion. A party can file more than one statement. The statement must be completed by the party or a witness who has first-hand knowledge of the facts being stated. Although no longer filed as an affidavit under oath, the statement is filed under penalty of perjury.

If you disagree with the legal arguments made in the Memorandum Supporting the Motion, you should complete and file a Memorandum Opposing the Motion. The memorandum explains why the motion is not supported by the law. You should cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.

Type or clearly print the Statement Opposing the Motion and the Memorandum Opposing the Motion. Make the sentences simple and clear. Organize the sentences into logically arranged paragraphs. If you make the documents easy to read, the judge will better understand them. The memorandum can be up to 10 double-spaced pages.

Request to Submit for Decision

The motion and other documents will not be given to the judge to decide until one of the parties completes and files a Request to Submit for Decision. Either party may file a Request to Submit for Decision, but someone must do so. If one party files a Request to Submit for Decision, the other party does not. Do not file the Request to Submit for Decision until the Reply to the Statement Opposing the Motion has been filed or until after the time for filing a Reply has expired. If there is no Statement Opposing the Motion, then file the Request to Submit for Decision after the time for filing the opposing statement has expired. You may request a hearing as part of the Request to Submit for Decision. A Request to Submit for Decision must be filed even if the parties stipulate to the motion.

Hearing

If you want to present oral arguments as well as written arguments to the judge, you have to request a hearing.

If a ruling on the motion might dispose of the case, like a motion for summary judgment, then the court usually will hold a hearing if at least one of the parties requests one. If a ruling on the motion would not dispose of the case, then the judge can decide the motion based on the documents without a hearing, even if the parties have requested one. The judge can order a hearing even if neither party requests one. If one party requests a hearing and the other party does not, both parties are still allowed an opportunity to present oral arguments, if a hearing is held.

The party requesting the hearing schedules the hearing with the judge's judicial assistant. Courtesy allows that the requesting party will schedule the hearing on a date and time convenient to all parties and the court.

Documents for Motions Decided by a Judge

Documents

Time to File and Serve

Motion, Statement Supporting the Motion, Memorandum Supporting the Motion

 

Statement Opposing the Motion, Memorandum Opposing the Motion

Within 14 days after service of the Motion.

Reply to Statement Opposing the Motion

Within 7 days after service of the Statement or Memorandum Opposing the Motion.

Request to Submit for Decision with proposed order

When briefing is complete. (After the last permitted document is filed or after the deadline for filing that document has passed.)



Motions Decided by a Commissioner


What's Different?

In Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear most matters in divorce cases and several other types of family law cases. Otherwise, all motions are assigned to judges in all judicial districts.

The documents described in "Motions Decided by a Judge - Moving Party" for a moving party and in "Motions Decided by a Judge - Opposing Party" for an opposing party are the same whether the motion is decided by a commissioner or a judge. The time for filing them is different. If a motion will be decided by a judge, a hearing is not scheduled until after all of the documents described above have been filed. If a motion will be decided by a commissioner, a hearing is scheduled when the motion is filed, and the documents have to be filed and served before the hearing.

Only judges make final orders even if a motion is decided first by a commissioner. The commissioner recommends a decision, and that recommendation is the order of the court until modified by the judge. A party may object to a commissioner's recommendation by filing an objection.

Documents for Domestic Relations Decided by a Commissioner

Documents

Time to File and Serve

Motion, Statement Supporting the Motion, Memorandum Supporting the Motion, Notice of Hearing

At least 14 days before the hearing

Statement Opposing the Motion, Memorandum Opposing the Motion

At least 7 days before the hearing

Reply to Statement Opposing the Motion

At least 3 business days before the hearing


Request to Submit for Decision

There is no Request to Submit for Decision if the motion will be decided by a commissioner. The hearing is set when the motion is filed, and the motion is automatically submitted for decision at the end of the hearing.

Hearing

The moving party will schedule a hearing with the commissioner's judicial assistant when the motion is filed. Courtesy allows that the requesting party will schedule the hearing on a date and time convenient to all parties and the court. Check with the judicial assistant to find out whether the party requesting the hearing or the judicial assistant will serve the Notice of Hearing on the other party.


Courtesy Copies

A "courtesy copy" is an extra copy - in addition to the file copy - of all of your papers related to the motion, provided to the judge or commissioner. Check with your judge's or commissioner's judicial assistant to find out whether your judge or commissioner requires a courtesy copy and the deadline for submitting it.


Order

The order is the judge's or commissioner's decision on the motion. The order usually contains a statement of the facts that the court decides are true, a statement of the law, and the court's orders. If the judge makes a decision without a hearing or if the judge or commissioner takes the matter under advisement, the decision will usually be made within 60 days after the motion is submitted. Sometimes it takes a little longer. If the judge or commissioner makes a decision at the end of a hearing, usually they will tell one party or the other to prepare the order. Listen carefully to what the judge or commissioner says because you may have to prepare the order, and the order has to agree with what the judge or commissioner says.

The order should be prepared within 21 days after the judge's or commissioner's decision. If a party is directed to prepare the order and does not, then either party may prepare the proposed order. The party who prepares the proposed order must serve it on the other party, who has 7 days in which to object. The objection can be directed only to the language of the order, not the ruling by the judge or commissioner. The party preparing the order files the order with the court at the end of the time to object. If there is no objection, the judge or commissioner will sign the order. If the other party objects, the parties can work it out or the judge or commissioner will rule on the objection.


Serving the Documents

Service of motions and the supporting and opposing documents is governed by Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 5. For more information, see our webpage on Serving Papers.


Types of Motions in Civil Cases

This table includes some of the more common motions in civil cases. This is not an exhaustive list; there are others. The court does not have any forms for these motions, other than the generic forms listed in the "Forms" section. The "Other Motions" section contains links to webpages for particular motions for which we do have special forms.

Motion

Rule of Civil Procedure

Which Party Can Make the Motion and When

Description

To dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction

Rule 12(b)(1)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because it was filed in the wrong court. If the court grants the motion, the plaintiff can file the case in a court that has jurisdiction.

To dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction

Rule 12(b)(2)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the defendant/respondent does not have enough of a connection to Utah. If the court grants the motion, the plaintiff/petitioner can file the case in a court that has personal jurisdiction.

To transfer to a county in which venue is proper

Rule 12(b)(3)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to transfer the case to a county in which the defendant/respondent resides, where the action arose, or to some other county with venue.

To dismiss for insufficient process

Rule 12(b)(4)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

"Process" refers to the summons itself. The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the summons did not meet the requirements of URCP 4 (a) and (c). If the court finds that the summons is defective, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to prepare and serve a proper summons or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petitioner can file a new case, and prepare and serve a proper summons.

To dismiss for insufficient service of process

Rule 12(b)(5)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

"Service of process" refers to how the summons and complaint are delivered to the defendant/respondent. The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the defendant/respondent was not served in a manner permitted by URCP 4(d). If the court finds that service was defective, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to properly serve the summons and complaint/petition or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petitioner can file a new case, and properly serve the defendant/respondent.

To dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted

Rule 12(b)(6)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the claims made, even if true, do not state a cause of action. The motion does not admit or deny the truth of the claims. If the court finds that the claims do not state a cause of action, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to amend the complaint/petition or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petition can file a new case, unless the case is dismissed "with prejudice."

To dismiss for failure to join an indispensible party

Rule 12(b)(7)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because someone who has to be a party is not a party. URCP 19 says who should be a party and who has to be a party. If the court finds that the person has to be a party, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to join the person to the case by naming them as a party and serving them. If the court does not have personal jurisdiction over a person who has to be a party, the case will be dismissed.

To make a more definite statement

Rule 12(e)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to order the plaintiff/petitioner to rewrite the complaint/petition (or some part of it) because, as written, it is so unclear that the defendant/respondent cannot be expected to understand it. If the court grants the motion, it will allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to rewrite the complaint/petition (or some part of it).

To strike a statement

Rule 12(f)

Any party after a new pleading or other paper has been filed and served

The motion asks the court to strike a part of a document because the language is so repetitive, irrelevant or improper that it should be deleted. If the court grants the motion, the offending language will be deleted, but the case will still proceed.

For judgment on the pleadings

Rule 12(c)

Any party after all pleadings have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to give judgment to the moving party because, based on the pleadings, the moving party should win as a matter of law. If the court grants the motion, the moving party wins the case (or some part of it).

For summary judgment

Rule 56

Any party after all pleadings have been filed and served and before trial.

The motion asks the court to give judgment to the moving party because, based on the pleadings, statements and other documents, the moving party should win as a matter of law. If the court grants the motion, the moving party wins the case (or some part of it). This motion is similar to motion for judgment on the pleadings, except that the court considers material in addition to the pleadings. To grant the motion, the court must find that no important facts are disputed and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

For order to show cause why the other party should not be held in contempt

Rule 7(b)(2)

Either party after an order has been violated by the other party

The motion asks the court to compel the other party to obey an existing order or to punish the other party for violating the order. If the court grants the motion, the court will schedule a hearing at which the opposing party has to show good cause why they violated the order. If the court holds the opposing party in contempt, the court can order that party to pay a fine and go to jail.

To amend or set aside a judgment

Rule 60

Either party after the judgment has been entered.

Rule 60(a) asks the court to correct a clerical error. Rule 60(b) asks the court to set aside the judgment.



Other Motions

This webpage describes motion procedures in general. See the following webpages for information and forms about a Motion ...


Forms


Forms for the Moving Party

Forms for the Opposing Party


Related Information


Page Last Modified: 5/5/2014
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