A motion to compel is a request for an opposing party to produce certain information, typically information that was previously requested during the discovery process of a case. The moving party asks the court to order the opposing party to produce documents or other information, often at their expense. The moving party may also request attorney’s fees after the opponent failed to respond to the discovery request in a timely manner.
A motion to compel is often used to compel discovery when discovery disputes are present. A party may move for an order compelling the opposing party or its attorney to produce documents that were requested as part of the discovery process. For example, the party or its attorney may have asked for bank records, medical records, a contract, or other documents that were requested in interrogatories or requests for the production of documents.
A party may also file a motion to compel if the opposing party did not respond to a request for admissions. However, there may be consequences to a party failing to answer a request for admissions in a timely manner, such as the answers being deemed admitted against the party. Therefore, a party involved in litigation should discuss the advantages or disadvantages with an attorney before filing a motion of this nature.
The mechanics of a motion to compel depend on whether the case is before a state court or federal court. Generally, the motion must be filed with the appropriate court that has jurisdiction to take court action on the request. For cases pending before federal courts, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply. Under these rules, the party who wants to compel the other party to produce documents or other information must first try to work out the discovery dispute with the opposing side. He or she must also provide notice to other parties of the intention to file a motion to compel. This provides the party with an opportunity to provide the requested information before the official filing.
State courts differ as to how they treat a motion to compel. Some states may require that the requesting party clearly specify the information that is being compelled, and the reasons why the information is being requested. Some states may have very detailed rules of other requirements before a motion to compel can be filed.
If the judge grants the motion to compel, a party who refuses to comply with an order to compel may face serious consequences. The party may be required to pay court sanctions, and may face contempt of court charges.
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