Motion To Compel Discovery Law & Legal Definition


A motion is a request asking a judge to issue a ruling or order on a legal matter. Usually, one side files a motion, along with notice of the motion to the attorney for the opposing party, the other side files a written response, and the court holds a hearing, at which the parties give brief oral arguments. Other motions are decided by the written submissions alone, without a hearing. However, during a trial or a hearing, an oral motion may be permitted. Then the court issues a ruling (order) which approves or denies the motion. Motions are often made before trials to resolve procedural and preliminary issues, and may be made after trials to enforce or modify judgments. Motions are made in court all the time for many purposes such as to continue a trial to a later date, to get a modification of an order, for temporary child support, for a judgment, for dismissal of the opposing party's case, for a rehearing, for sanctions, to compel discovery responses and many other reasons.

A motion to compel discovery responses is filed when a party who has propounded discovery to either the opposing party or a third party believes that the discovery responses are insufficient. The motion to compel is used to ask the court to order the non-complying party to produce the documentation or information requested, and/or to sanction the non-complying party for their failure to comply with the discovery requests. A motion to compel discover responses with exhibits may be filed by the party propounding the discovery if there is no response to the document requests, or if the discovery responses are not adequate and the filing party needs the documents marked as exhibits.

The following is an example of a state law dealing with motion to compel discovery:

Compel Discovery

A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery as follows:

(a) Appropriate court.

An application for an order to a party may be made to the court in which the action is pending, or, on matters relating to a deposition, to the court of equivalent jurisdiction in the county where the deposition is being taken.

(b) Motion.

(i) If a deponent fails to answer a question propounded or submitted under Rule 30 or 31, or a corporation or other entity fails to make a designation under Rule 30.02(6) or 31.01(2), or a party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule 33, or if a party, in response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 34, fails to respond that inspection will be permitted as requested or fails to permit inspection as requested, the discovering party may move for an order compelling an answer, or a designation, or an order compelling inspection in accordance with the request. When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may complete or adjourn the examination before he applies for an order.

(ii) If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order as it would have been empowered to make on a motion made pursuant to Rule 26.03.

(c) Evasive or incomplete answer.

For the purposes of this rule an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer. Rule 37.01