Our employment law attorneys blog a lot about the substantive law that protects employees from being wrongfully fired or otherwise discriminated against based on race/color, national origin, religion, gender/sex (including pregnancy) sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age. Today, we are going to step back and go over some of the procedural issues that may result in all or some of you case being dismissed before it reaches a jury.
What is motion to dismiss the complaint?
A motion to dismiss the complaint is a request made by the defendant in a federal court lawsuit to have the plaintiff’s complaint dismissed without the need for a full trial. The motion argues that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or that the complaint is otherwise defective. A motion to dismiss the complaint can be made at the early stages of a lawsuit before any significant discovery has taken place.
The standard for granting a motion to dismiss the complaint is whether the complaint provides the defendant with enough information to understand the nature of the claim and what the plaintiff is seeking. If the court finds that the complaint fails to state a claim, it may grant the motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff may be required to amend the complaint or face having the case dismissed entirely. If the court determines that the complaint is sufficient, it will deny the motion to dismiss and the case will proceed to the next stage.
In federal court, the rule that governs a motion to dismiss the complaint is Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 12(b) provides the procedure for making and opposing a motion to dismiss the complaint and sets out the grounds on which a complaint may be dismissed. The grounds for dismissing a complaint under Rule 12(b) include failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, lack of jurisdiction, failure to join a necessary party, and other defects in the pleadings. The court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true, unless they are contradicted by the defendant’s factual submissions, and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. If the court finds that the complaint fails to state a claim, it may dismiss the complaint, or dismiss specific claims within the complaint, with or without prejudice to the plaintiff.
Only in very limited circumstances may the defendant submit evidence outside the complaint, such as affidavits or other documents, to support its motion to dismiss the complaint. However, the court will generally consider only the complaint and any attached exhibits, as well as any undisputed facts, in deciding a motion to dismiss the complaint. If the defendant wishes to submit evidence that contradicts the allegations in the complaint, it may instead file a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
What is a motion for summary judgment?
A motion for summary judgment is a request made by one party in a lawsuit to the court asking for a ruling in their favor without the need for a full trial. The rule that governs motions for summary judgment in federal court is Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56 provides the procedure for making and opposing a motion for summary judgment and sets out the standard for granting such a motion. Under Rule 56, a court may grant a motion for summary judgment if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. The rule requires that the non-moving party show that there is a genuine issue of material fact in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment.
What evidence can the court consider as part of a motion for summary judgment?
In a federal court, the court can consider various forms of evidence as part of a motion for summary judgment, including:
- Pleadings: The court can consider the pleadings, such as the complaint, answer, and any counterclaims, in deciding the motion.
- Depositions: Depositions are transcripts of witness testimony taken under oath outside of court. The court can consider depositions as evidence in a motion for summary judgment.
- Answers to Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions that must be answered under oath by a party in a case. The court can consider answers to interrogatories as evidence in a motion for summary judgment.
- Admissions: Admissions are formal statements made by a party that are admitted into evidence. The court can consider admissions as evidence in a motion for summary judgment.
- Affidavits: An affidavit is a written statement made under oath by a witness. The court can consider affidavits as evidence in a motion for summary judgment.
- Other forms of documentary evidence: The court can consider other forms of documentary evidence, such as contracts, emails, and other written communications, in deciding the motion. However, such evidence must be properly authenticated by way of an affidavit or declaration by a witness with knowledge of the documents.
The court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party when deciding a motion for summary judgment. If the evidence submitted by the parties raises a genuine dispute of material fact, the motion must be denied, and the case must proceed to trial.
What is a motion for directed verdict?
A motion for directed verdict is a motion made by any party during a jury trial to have the judge decide the case as a matter of law instead of submitting it to the jury. This motion is typically made at the close of the evidence by one of the parties.
A motion for directed verdict is based on the argument that the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to support a particular claim or defense, and that the jury therefore should be instructed to return a verdict in favor of the moving party. If the judge grants the motion, the case is effectively decided without the jury’s deliberation.
A motion for directed verdict is sometimes referred to as a “judgment as a matter of law,” and is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50. Whether to grant or deny a motion for directed verdict is within the discretion of the judge and is based on the evidence presented at trial and the applicable law. If the judge denies the motion, the case is submitted to the jury for its deliberation and verdict.
Do I have a case that is worth suing my employment?
Best Employment Lawyer Answer: The best way to find out if you have a wrongful termination case is to consult an experienced employment attorney and share why you believe that your race, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or identity, religion or disability may have lead to you being fired from your job. When you call the right attorney, our team will schedule you a free and confidential consultation with an actual lawyer. (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?; Why Having Skilled Employment Attorneys Is Critical; Employment Law: Avoid Hiring The Wrong Attorney). Call our lawyers in Ohio, KentyucyMichigan, North Carolina, and Kentucky to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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