A motion to compel is filed by a party in order to oblige another party to fulfill the request stipulated in the legal proceedings. This type of motion is often done in an attempt to recover or unveil documents that are necessary in pursuing a cause of action. A party filing a motion to compel may request that another party produce the evidence or documents when such a party fails to do so.
When a party does not receive documents or evidence in a timely fashion, said party may file a motion to compel in order to gain such documents or evidence. The motion must detail what documents or evidence is being withheld from the party and the reason as to why the other party did not respond to any requests of discovery or why such responses, if responses were made, are found to be inadequate. Thus, the party filing the motion requests that the court oblige the other party into fulfilling any requests necessary during the discovery process of a court case.
If the party who has been subject to a motion to compel does not comply with the request stipulated, he or she may be subject to sanctions that could include contempt of court. However, if the motion to compel filed specifically states that no sanctions should be given in the event that the party subject to the motion does not comply, then the court may choose to not sanction said party.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides for the grounds on which a party may file for a motion to compel.