How to write a Motion and Brief in Support of your Motion
First and I cannot emphasize this enough–check the rules first and again when your brief and motion is done. In every jurisdiction, there may be numerous sets of rules and laws that apply to Briefs and Motion. Federal Court is easiest at maybe one or two sets of Rules. Illinois State Court is a pain because there’s the Supreme Court Rules, the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure the State legislature passes, then each County can have rules, and then each local court building can have rules, particular Divisions can have rules and of course each Judge can have rules on the judge’s website so you have to check everywhere before you file a motion.
The Motion is generally drafter after the Brief, and contains a short (2 to 3) page synopsis of your Brief, hitting all the most important topics.
A Motion has numbered paragraphs, a Brief does not.
For the Brief:
Your introductory paragraph should state the 3 strongest reasons why you should be granted relief and why your opponent should be granted nothing.
It should start out as follows:
Now comes your Movant, (Plaintiff X) and respectfully Moves this Honrable court to: (describe what your motion is for, don’t make the title too long). The grounds for this Motion are as follows: Now list your 3 to 5 best grounds for granting your motion. Often judges only read the first few pages and the last few pages.
Next comes a Statement of Facts or a Statement of Procedure.
You want to give the judge a quick synopsis of what the case is about and how it has progressed. For example:
Statement of Facts:
1. On X date, Plaintiff was falsely arrested by two officers, Officer X and Officer Z for Animal Abuse or Ill. State Law X. Neighbor Z said that Plaintiff L squirted bleach on her dog’s paws, the dog licked it’s paws, had to be taken to the vet and died soon after. That was a lie.
2. The Officers X and Z failed to further investigate with Vet B. Plaintiff L instructed the officers to call the Vet to confirm he had not seen Defendant’s Dog.
3. Plaintiff L told the Officers the next day, C date, that she saw the dog being walked and it was on her video surveillance camera. The officers refused to look at the footage and she was arrested instead.
4. During the arrest, the Officers made disparaging, hateful comments about Plaintiff L during the arrest. That she was old, black and stupid and just trying to kill her neighbor’s dog.
5. Plaintiff L told the Officers it was a hot summer, the Neighbors C always let their dog pee and poop in the alley and they never clean it up and it stinks. So Plaintiff L every other day or so would spray the alley with a dilute solution of bleach and hose off the offending areas. She did not poison her neighbor’s dog, but was just trying to clean up the alley where the neighbors walked their dog.
Statement of Procedure.
6. On X date Plaintiff was falsely arrested and held at the police station overnight.
7. On Y date, Plaintiff L produced $1,000 bond and was released.
8. On the following dates, Plaintiff L was haled into court to go through a variety of pretrial procedures and at each date she or her lawyer protested she was falsely arrested. Her lawyer cost her $6,000.
9. On E date, a bench trial was held and Plaintiff was acquitted. The neighbors never showed up in court with any evidence that their dog was harmed at all.
10. On F date Plaintiff filed a cause of action under 42 USC 1983 for False Arrest and False Imprisonment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress was filed in this Federal Court.
11. On G date Plaintiff served a full set of discovery on the Police Dept.
12. The defendant Police Dept refused to answer the discovery and counsel for the police dept in a phone conversation said he did not know when his client would answer the discovery.
Now you can see the case is fully explained, so now you can make your Motion and Legal Argument.
Plaintiff is entitled to her discovery under Rules X, Y and Z. (Cite the applicable laws and how they apply to your case).
Then weave in case law. Provide proper citations by looking at the top of the case and copying the title of the case and all reporters exactly as you see it. Westlaw, Nexus and Fastcase all have proper citations built right in. Fastcase is free to Ill. State Bar Members. You can also get it cheap for a year (under $100) through various libraries, check their website.
Explain why each case is pertinent to your motion and how it help you to win your motion.
The write a conclusion of exactly what relief you want the court to give you.
In this case, you would ask for a Order the Deft. Must comply with discovery in 10 days or face sanctions. If you are pro se, you have no attorney’s fees, so as for a fine of $50 per day for up to 30 days.
I hope this helps everyone write up their motions and briefs better