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Legal Dictionary

Dismissed with Prejudice

“Dismissed with prejudice” is a legal concept that refers to the resolution of a case, usually a lawsuit. When a case is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the court has made a final determination on the case’s merits, and the plaintiff is barred from bringing the same lawsuit again in the future.
A dismissal with prejudice commonly occurs when the court believes that the plaintiff’s claims lack legal merit or there is some other procedural reason why the case should not proceed. It serves as a final judgment on the matter, preventing the same parties from re-litigating the same issues in the future.
The term “dismissed with prejudice” is used to distinguish from a dismissal “without prejudice.” In a dismissal without prejudice, the court allows the plaintiff the opportunity to refile the lawsuit in the future, often due to procedural issues, technicalities, or other reasons that don’t go to the substance of the claims. It is worth noting that the decision to dismiss with prejudice or without prejudice is within the discretion of the court, and it is often based on the specific circumstances of the case.
Cases are also dismissed voluntarily by the person who filed the lawsuit or involuntarily by a judge. For instance, you could file a small claims case and voluntarily dismiss your case, either with or without prejudice. You could dismiss with prejudice if there is no need to return to court because you have been paid. However, if you decide they wish to sue in regular court because the amount is too much for small claims court, you could voluntarily dismiss your small claims case without prejudice. That would allow you to try your case in regular court. You could even change your mind again and return to Small Claims by reducing your claim.
When cases are dismissed involuntarily, it is by a judge, against the wishes of the person whose case is dismissed. Involuntary dismissals occur when the judge decides the case cannot go forward because of a legal reason. Typically, they result from the other side filing a Motion to Dismiss, pointing out those reasons.
When a judge involuntarily dismisses a case, it could be with or without prejudice. Often, judges dismiss claims without prejudice; thus, the person whose case got dismissed can try again after fixing the problem the other side pointed out.

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