Federal Rules of Procedure: Rule 12 Defenses and Objections
The overwhelming majority lawsuits never go to trial. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. Most cases are settled out of court, dropped, or dismissed
One method used to avoid trial is the motion to dismiss. If the defendant thinks that the plaintiff’s claims are legally invalid he or she will file a motion to dismiss after the plaintiff has filed a complaint.
Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outlines motions to dismiss.
After the plaintiff files a complaint, the defendant has 21 days to file a motion to dismiss.
There are seven defenses that the defendant may use for his or her motion to dismiss.
The first two are lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and lack of personal jurisdiction. The court in which the plaintiff filed his or her complaint must have the authority to hear the type of claim brought forth. The court must also have personal jurisdiction over all parties in the case. Both the plaintiff and defendant must either be a resident of the state, or have “sufficient minimum contacts” within the jurisdiction where the lawsuit was filed.
The third defense is improper venue, which is in reference to the specific location of the court. If the plaintiff does not file in the correct geography, the case may be dismissed.
The fourth and fifth defenses are insufficient process, and insufficient service of process. This means that the documents themselves must meet the requirements set forth by the law, and the complaint and summons must be properly served. If not, the case may be dismissed.
Rule 12(b)(6) is that a case may be dismissed for the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This refers to the plaintiff not presenting sufficient facts of the case. For example, if the plaintiff is alleging negligence, he or she must show the duty, breach of duty, causation, and harm of the negligent party. There also must be a “factual basis” for the claim in the complaint.
Finally, if there is a failure to join a party in a case, it can be dismissed.
Motions to dismiss are rarely granted. One reason is because courts must “construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all of the factual allegations as true, and determine whether the plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of his claims would entitle him to relief.” Wise v. Wilburn, No. 07-15479, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106644 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 10, 2008).
If the motion to dismiss is granted, it can be dismissed with or without prejudice. If it is dismissed with prejudice, the case may not be filed again. If it is dismissed without prejudice, it may be filed again.
If you or a loved one was the victim of negligence or wrongful conduct, the attorneys at Cohen & Cohen can help get the compensation you deserve. Call today at (202) 955-4529 for a free, zero obligation case evaluation.