Written by attorney Christopher Saccardi

Motions to Compel in Housing Court

Motions to Compel are commonly used when an opposing party fails to respond adequately or at all to discovery requests. Such a motion is basically a request that the judge order the other party to provide the information and/or documents requested. A court order can be very useful since a judge can include penalties against the other party if they continue to refuse to properly respond.

An important thing to consider before filing a motion to compel, however, is that most judges will expect that the parties to a discovery dispute will try to work out the issue between them before filing a motion with the court. Only if the other party is not responsive or refuses to provide adequate information should you file a motion to compel. Otherwise, the judge is likely to be annoyed with you and simply tell you to talk to the other party.

Also be sure that you are aware of the various deadlines the other party must respond by. These vary according to the type of case (summary process versus a civil action) and the type of court you are in (federal versus state versus housing court).

Finally, if you do end up filing a motion to compel further answers, you should try to be as specific as possible. It is not helpful to the judge if you simply state that the other party's answers are inadequate. You should include each request that was not answered properly and explain why the information provided is inadequate in concrete terms.

Additional resources provided by the author

You should check the court rules for the particular court that you are in. In Massachusetts, these can be found at:

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