What is a “Motion to Dismiss”?

Legal TermsHere are two legal terms typically encountered in videogame jurisprudence, and generally in civil litigation. In the particular area of videogames, Courts are often called upon to weigh parties’ competing interests in their respective intellectual property rights and/or Constitutional rights.  These are generally questions of law to be resolved by a judge (and not “questions of fact” which are decided by a judge or jury at trial).  Most of the terms on this list therefore relate to pretrial practice.

Motion to Dismiss
A “motion to dismiss” is a party’s request to a Court to dismiss a case on the grounds that a legal defense exists to the case.  Under federal procedural rules, these possible defenses are (1) lack of personal jurisdiction, (2) lack of subject matter jurisdiction, (3) improper venue, (4) insufficient process, (5) insufficient service of process, (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or (7) failure to join an indispensable party.

Motion to Dismiss For Failure to State A Claim
A “motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim” is a defendant’s request to a Court to dismiss a case (or a specific cause of action asserted therein) on the grounds that the case or cause of action fails to state a cognizable basis for legal relief.  The moving defendant therein contends that, even assuming plaintiff’s allegations are true, they would not be legally sufficient to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.  The Court may also grant a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim where the allegations reveal that a complete legal defense exists to the claim.