Motions - The Art of Shaping your Case

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Motions are the vehicles by which you move the court to do something. Generally, they are considered filed when accepted by the court. Then, the opposing party has typically 30 days to respond unless the judge sets another time. In ordinary products liability cases, there are critical motions to be filed at the beginning, middle, and end of a trial but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Motion for Summary Judgment: Whether through 2-615 (defective pleadings) or 2-619 (affirmative matters), rest assured that defense counsel in products liability cases will move to summarily end the case. Normally, they will raise defenses such as statute of limitations, comparative negligence, assumption of risk, or other claims in trying to shoot down your case before it starts. However, keep in mind that this might just be a gambit to whittle down your case and make their job easier even if they are unsuccessful. Therefore, look at the sample plaintiff responses below for advice on drafting.

  • Motion to Exclude Evidence: Motions to exclude evidence in products liability cases are very common in Illinois. Often times the defendant’s counsel will want to keep evidence of other accidents involving the same product for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, this evidence could be highly influential to the jury. Also, plaintiff’s counsel could use this to support their claims. Finally, evidence of other incidents could be used to establish notice. For all these reasons, motions to exclude are incredibly common in products liability cases and understanding how to respond to them is vital to your case.

  • Motion to Bar Testimony: Motions to bar testimony in products liability cases normally center on expert witnesses. Typically, the defense will argue that the expert’s credentials are immaterial or insufficient to the relevant subject matter of the case. In other instances, the objecting counsel might say that the prospective witness’ testimony may be too prejudicial and outweighs any probative value.

Here are some sample motions from Illinois products liability cases:

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