Rule of the Week – T.R.C.P. 7.02 (Motions)

Rule 7.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions.  It is important for what it does not say.  Here is the text of the rule: 

(1) An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which, unless made during a hearing or trial, shall be made in writing, shall state with particularity the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought. The requirement of writing is fulfilled if the motion is stated in a written notice of the hearing of the motion.

 (2)The rules applicable to captions, signing, and other matters form of pleadings apply to all motions and other papers provided for by these rules. 

Do you see what is missing?  Many local rules mandate that a motion requiring that an issue of law be decided be accompanied by a memorandum of law.  But there is nothing in Rule 7, or any local rule that I am aware of, that prohibits a motion and a memorandum of law being contained in the same document.

Why do I care?  The use of two documents means that there are  two documents that must be kept up with during the hearing.  It requires a duplication of a caption, a certificate of service, and one or two paragraphs of other information.  It is totally unnecessary  So, why not combine the two?

Here is how it can work?  The title of the document would be "Defendant Deep Pockets, LLC’s Motion to Compel and Memorandum of Law."  The opening sentence would read "Defendant Deep Pockets, LLC respectfully moves for an Order compelling the Plaintiff to answer interrogatories and produce documents. 

The next section of the document would be designated "Grounds for Motion" and would set forth in particularity the grounds for the motion.  In the example, the grounds would be that discovery was served on Plaintiff on June 1, 2009, was due July 5, 2009, and that no response had been received.  This section would also detail the efforts made to resolve the matter before court intervention was sought.  

The next section would be designated "Applicable Law.".  The following section would be the "Argument" section, where the law was applied to the facts as set forth in the grounds for the motion.  The last section, "Relief Sought," sets forth in particularity the relief sought by the motion.

The filing of one document will save time, money and paper.  Let me know if you like the idea.