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Definition of Without Prejudice

If a judge dismisses a case "without prejudice" this is stating that the rights of the plaintiff have not been "truncated, waived or terminated" and the plaintiff may file the lawsuit a second time. There are a variety of reasons a case may be dismissed without prejudice including if the plaintiff decides they do not want to pursue the case, the judge believes the plaintiff cannot prove their case, or the plaintiff and the defendant have reach a settlement agreement and a lawsuit is no longer necessary. Unfortunately, for the first two reasons the plaintiff could file the claim again.

A judge can also decide to terminate a case "with prejudice" when the plaintiff filed a nuisance suit, acted in bad faith or failed to follow the rules of court. In this case the plaintiff is barred from filing another claim and the case is considered "settled" by the court.

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