Answer: it depends on the case and what was happening when the motion to dismiss was filed.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
What Happens After a Motion To Dismiss Is Denied? (Explained)
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Motions to Dismiss (Generally)
All motions (like a motion to dismiss) can only be filed when there is legal authority (statute, court rule, case precedent) for a party to do so.
Motions to dismiss can be filed against the particular claims in the case, or against the case entirely.
Sometimes a motion to dismiss puts the rest of the case on pause until the motion is decided.
In other situations, the case will carry on until the motion is decided.
When a Motion To Dismiss Is Denied
When a motion to dismiss is denied, the court enters an order officially denying the motion. Then the case jumps right back on track.
If a motion to dismiss was filed during the initial pleadings, the denial of the motion means that the parties must get back to getting their pleadings filed and move on into discovery.
Since pleadings are very deadline driven, it is common for the court to state a specific date for when the particular document is due to be filed to put the parties on track.
If the court does not make a deadline, it is common for one of the parties to ask that the court set one so that there is no misunderstandings or confusion about where things stand.
When a motion to dismiss is denied at the summary judgment phase, it is pretty common for the lawyers and the judge to meet in an off the record conference to talk about the status of discovery and whether the case can be ready for trial on the scheduled date.
A denied motion to dismiss could also inspire the parties to agree to a mediation or settlement conference, because the alternative of paying to prepare for trial and go through trial is not palatable.
If the denied motion to dismiss was filed by the defendant at the conclusion of plaintiff’s case-in-chief at trial, then the defendant would move into his case-in-chief and begin the presentation of his evidence.
If the motion to dismiss was filed at the conclusion of the evidence but before the argument by the parties at trial, then the parties would move into the argument phase after the motion’s denial.
What Can Be Done If a Motion To Dismiss Is Denied?
What the parties can do after the denial of the motion to dismiss depends on the case and where in the case the motion was filed.
In most cases, filing an “appeal” of the decision on the motion to be heard by the appellate court is not possible, because the case is still on-going. There may be a special process in some state’s that allows a party to seek the involvement of the appellate court in an on-going case without a final adjudication but the circumstances are generally really rare.
Some courts allow the parties to file a “motion for reconsideration” in the event that the decision was just really wrong, but judges generally do not appreciate these motions and they are rarely successful.
Additional motions to dismiss on other grounds are a possibility, though rules in some cases may not allow for them.
For example, there are some motions to dismiss that must be filed before the Defendant/Respondent files his Answer to the Plaintiff/Petitioner’s Complaint.
In general, once a motion to dismiss is denied, the case moves forward, and the parties make strategic decisions for the benefit of their case.
Still Have Questions?
If you need specific guidance in your situation, contacting an attorney in the case’s practice area in your jurisdiction (where your court is located) can help you get your questions answered and help put your case on track.
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