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What are motions?

Either party, the plaintiff or the defendant, may request that the court take specific action related to the case. To do so, the party prepares a formal request or what is referred to as a motion. The party then signs the motion, submits it, with a certificate of service, and files it with the Clerk of Court and sends a copy to the opposing party, or the opposing party's attorney. The opposing party, or his or her attorney, may then file with the Clerk of Court an objection or responsive pleading to the motion. This objection sets forth the reasons why the court should deny rather than grant the motion.

The District or Magistrate Judge normally rules on motions by issuing a written order related to the relief sought in the motion. That order may grant the motion, deny the motion or partially grant or deny. The court generally does not schedule hearings in order for the parties to argue the motion or objections.

Where a case has been referred to a Magistrate Judge and one of the parties files a dispositive (bringing about a final determination) motion, the Magistrate Judge is authorized to prepare a written Report and Recommendation, namely, a recommendation that the motion either be granted or denied and stating the reason(s) why. This Report and Recommendation is forwarded to the District Judge assigned to the case and copies are sent to the parties. As a party, you have a certain number of days within which to file objections to the Report and Recommendation. All objections that are received within the specified time are forwarded to the District Judge. The District Judge reviews the Report and Recommendation and any objections that have been filed and will subsequently issue an order that adopts, rejects, or adopts in part and rejects in part the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. A judgment will also be entered by the District Judge in the case. Such judgment is final and can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit located in Atlanta, Georgia.

We've prepared a glossary (list) of legal terms for your convenience.