Movant vs. Nonmovant
When a party asks a judge to issue a ruling on a matter, it is called a motion. For example, a defendant could move the court to dismiss a case for lack of personal jurisdiction. In this case, the defendant, who is making the motion, is called the movant, or moving party.
The plaintiff in this example (who will probably oppose the motion to dismiss), is called the nonmovant, the non-moving party.
Why do Courts Use Terms such as Movant or Nonmovant?
In its decision on a motion, the Court might refer to the parties as movant and nonmovant, instead of plaintiff or defendant. Referring to the parties as either the moving or the non-moving party helps the reader understand the decision. The reader might forget whether it was the plaintiff or the defendant who actually filed the motion. By referring to the parties as movant or nonmovant, the Court can help the reader remember who is asking the Court to grant the motion and who is asking the Court to deny the motion.
Example Sentence with Movant and Nonmovant
Here is a sample sentence from a recent court decision using the words movant and nonmovant:
Because the nonmovant has failed to comply with the requirements of Local Rule 7, and to controvert with specificity the facts set forth in movant Statement of Material Facts, the Court will deem admitted as uncontroverted all the facts properly set forth in movant’s Statement.
In this sentence, the Court is explaining that the movant – – the party making the motion – – submitted something called a Statement of Material Facts. Local Rule 7 required the nonmoving party, the party opposing the motion, to explain whether it disputes these facts. The nonmoving party did not follow the rule because it did not dispute the facts. Therefore, the Court is going to to adopt the Statement of Material Facts by the movant.
You can learn more about motions in this video: