What is a Motion for Reconsideration?
After a trial, there are several types of motions that can be filed to address possible trial errors. The most common type of post-trial motion is a Motion for Reconsideration in which you are asking the judge to reconsider his/her ruling and change one specific part of the court order or the court’s overall ruling. Depending on your state’s laws, a Motion for Reconsideration may be an option in the following situations:
- when you believe the judge did not consider or properly examine certain evidence or correctly apply the law; or
- when new evidence is available that you were not able to present before the judge made a decision.
If you are considering also filing an appeal, however, talk to a lawyer about the pros and cons of filing a Motion for Reconsideration first. If the judge rules against you on your motion, s/he may use it as an opportunity to make the ruling harder to appeal by strengthening his/her factual findings or legal analysis against your position. For more information about appeals, see our File an Appeal section.
When do I file a Motion for Reconsideration?
The deadline to file a Motion for Reconsideration will be a certain period of time after the judge has issued the order that you would like to have reconsidered or after you are served with the order, often between 14 and 30 days. You may want to speak with a lawyer in your state about the time line to file a motion. Usually filing a Motion for Reconsideration will suspend the deadline for filing a Notice of Appeal, and the “clock” won’t start until the trial court judge decides the motion. It is important to confirm with a lawyer in your state whether this is true in your state.
What will a judge consider in a Motion for Reconsideration?
The exact factors a judge will consider when deciding whether to grant your Motion for Reconsideration will depend on your state’s laws. Generally, a judge will consider factors such as whether:
- there is new evidence that is significant to the legal issue and was not available when the case ended, despite your best efforts to get that evidence;
- the final decision was made after an incorrect interpretation of the law or the law has changed since the judge made his/her final decision; and
- denying the Motion for Reconsideration will result in an obvious injustice.
These are general examples of what a judge may consider and may not be the specific factors in your state. You will want to contact a lawyer to find out what state laws apply to your situation.