Pretrial Motions

To speed a trial along, judges make rulings on certain issues prior to the beginning of the trial by hearing pretrial motions. The defending party typically files a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff has no legal cause of action. The court sets a hearing and decides whether the grant the motion. If the motion to dismiss is granted, the case is dismissed and the time and expense of a trial is avoided.

In other instances, where neither party can dispute the facts, one party may file a motion for summary judgment. Because the facts are not at issue, the judge can apply the law without the necessity of a trial and enter a judgment.

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