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What Is a Motion to Strike?

Sarah Edwards | November 30, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

What happens to the evidence when a Motion to Strike is granted ^^

Summary: A Motion to Strike can remove pleas, statements, and evidence from judicial proceedings in a lawsuit. If you’re facing a debt lawsuit, SoloSuit can make the process easier.

In legalese, lawyers use a Motion to Strike to remove part of the other party’s pleas or evidence from the record of the judicial proceedings. In a courtroom, the plaintiff’s or defendant’s legal team can ask for the removal of certain information given in a trial, hearing, Complaint, or Answer.

If the judge approves a Motion to Strike, the court removes the information from the records. The judge or jury is not allowed to consider it in the final decision of the legal claim.

A Motion to Strike is appropriate when certain information can’t be proven, violates courtroom rules, or doesn’t relate to the case at hand.

Every court has specific rules that govern when a Motion to Strike is appropriate and when a judge can grant it. Attorneys must carefully consider these rules before asking a judge for a Motion to Strike. In turn, the judge will evaluate the motion to determine whether it applies to the circumstances of the case.

Motions to Strike are important

A Motion to Strike can be a vital tool that attorneys can use to their advantage. If an attorney is successful, they can eliminate evidence or statements presented by their opponent. If the evidence is important to the other party’s claim, it can turn the tide of a lawsuit.

Here’s an example.

Example: Shelly is the defendant in a nuisance lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Shelly holds large parties in her apartment until the break of dawn. The plaintiff is Maria, the owner of her apartment. Maria introduces evidence that Shelly hired an orchestra to play big band music until 4:00 a.m. every day during the workweek. However, Maria obtained the evidence — a receipt for the orchestra — by searching Shelly’s purse without her knowledge. Since Maria obtained the receipt illegally, Shelly’s lawyer files a Motion to Strike. The judge agrees to dismiss the receipt from the judicial proceedings. Unfortunately, Maria has no further evidence to substantiate her claims, so the case ends in a dismissal. Shelly walks free from the lawsuit and can continue to hold her big band parties until Maria finds new evidence for a legal claim.

How does a Motion to Strike work?

A lawyer can introduce a Motion to Strike orally or in writing to remove statements, pleadings, or evidence removed from judicial proceedings. Usually, lawyers present a Motion to Strike in writing unless it concerns verbal testimony made during the proceedings.

When asking for a Motion to Strike, the attorney must provide reasons that the evidence or statements are inadmissible. The judge will evaluate their reasoning carefully before making a decision. If the judge agrees to the motion, the court will strike the information from the judicial proceedings, and the trial or hearing will resume.

When the judicial proceedings involve a jury, the jurors will receive an explanation of why the information is no longer applicable and how they should move forward in their decision process.

What is a Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses?

In a debt collection lawsuit, it is common for the defendant (the person or company being sued) to file an Answer document in which they assert their affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is any lawful reason that the plaintiff (the person or company suing) should not win the case.

In response to a defendant’s affirmative defenses, the plaintiff may file a Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses. This is a legal document that requests the court to throw out the affirmative defenses asserted by the defendant without further consideration. If granted, there is a good chance the plaintiff will gain the high ground in the case.

Here’s an example of a Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses:

Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses example

What’s the difference between a Motion to Strike and a Motion to Dismiss?

A Motion to Strike can remove only a part of the opposing party’s pleas, statements, or evidence. The opposing party will need to modify or remove specific pleas, witness comments, or evidence from the case. However, the court will still review the remaining information concerning the claim.

In contrast, a Motion to Dismiss asks the court to dismiss the other party’s pleas. A judge will consider the Motion to Dismiss and determine whether the appeals can remain or whether a modification is necessary. In some cases, they may entirely reject the opposing party’s pleas.

A Motion to Dismiss could result in a complete dismissal of the case if successful. Otherwise, the opposing party must modify the pleas to meet the court’s requirements.

Keep reading to learn more about how a Motion to Dismiss works.

Consider an example of a Motion to Dismiss in a debt lawsuit

A Motion to Strike can be used in all types of cases, whether it be criminal, family or civil law.

Let’s consider an example of a Motion to Dismiss filed into a debt collection lawsuit.

Example: Cindy, is being sued by a debt collector with Payday Loans 4 U who alleges that Cindy took out a $5,000 payday loan and didn’t repay it. However, Cindy didn’t take out the loan; someone stole her identity and took the money using her ID and checking account information. After using SoloSuit to file her Answer to the lawsuit, Cindy also submits a Motion to Dismiss the case since the claims against her are false and she is the victim of identity theft. The judge reviews Cindy’s evidence, and the court dismisses Payday Loans 4 U’s pleas. Since there is no longer a case against Cindy, she walks free from the claims.

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