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Drafting an Effective Motion for Reconsideration

Motion for Reconsiderations, although an essential litigation tool, are very difficult to win. In the interest of finality, Motions for Reconsideration are granted sparingly because parties should normally not be free to re-litigate issues a court has already decided. However, attorneys should not be concerned with the odds for success if they have reasonable grounds for the motion.

As with other motions, time is of the essence in a Motion for Reconsideration. Generally, the timeline for filing a Motion for Reconsideration is short and therefore you need to act quickly. The standard 10-day filing timeline is short and concrete therefore, if you need a transcript to support your motion, you will need to expedite service as quickly as possible.

The strategy for a motion to reconsider needs precision and swiftness. Articulate precisely and economically the grounds for reconsideration. Trial courts generally do not prefer too many motions for reconsideration in their dockets. Therefore, you need to have solid grounds for evoking the motion. Cite the specific grounds that best apply to your situation. Generally a Motion for Reconsideration is filed under three grounds:

  1. The availability of new evidence not previously available;
  2. An intervening change in controlling law; or
  3. The need to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice.

The motion should specifically include the controlling cases or legal errors that the attorney believes the court has overlooked or erred. It’s important to remember that a Motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity to re-litigate already decided issues. It should never be a medium to put forward additional arguments that could have been made but neglected to make before judgment. Where evidence is not newly discovered, it may not be submitted in support of a Motion for Reconsideration.

Apart from the above, urge the policy of judicial economy to the court. Permitting a trial court to correct any mistakes prior to entry of final judgment serves the interests of judicial economy and the rules for reconsideration fulfills the same. However, remember to keep your tone neutral and not appear to be critical or argumentative in nature.

One of the advantages of going in for a Motion for reconsideration is that it acts as a cost effective appeal. You don’t have to pay fresh filing fees or submit records to overcome the wrong decision. You just need to convince the court that new developments, accurate law or a correct view of the facts justify a new ruling. If you think your case has solid grounds that support a Motion for Reconsideration, go ahead – it may help you win the war.


Inside Drafting an Effective Motion for Reconsideration