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Definition of Dismissal

Dismissal is the termination of a lawsuit which can be done with prejudice, which does not allow the case to be brought to the court a second time, or without prejudice, which does allow the case to be brought to court again in the future.

In a civil case it is easier for a plaintiff to request a dismissal than a defendant. For instance, if the defendant has not filed an answer or a motion for summary judgment the plaintiff can voluntarily dismiss the case without a court order by filing a Notice of Dismissal. However, if the defendant has filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, voluntary dismissal can be made without a court order if all parties agree to sign a joint stipulation of dismissal.

Defendants may also have a complaint dismissed if they can prove the plaintiff failed to state a claim. Under this motion the defendant is arguing the plaintiff lacked enough evidence about the facts of the case to file a case against them. The plaintiff, however, will have a chance to amend the complaint if needed before the court dismisses it per the defendant's request.

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