RULE 41. DISMISSAL OF ACTIONS

Text

(a) Voluntary Dismissal: Effect Thereof.

(1) By Plaintiff; by Stipulation. Subject to the provisions of Rule 23(e), of Rule 66, and of any statute, an action may be dismissed by the plaintiff upon repayment of defendants’ filing fees, without order of court (i) by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service by the adverse party of an answer or of a motion for summary judgment, whichever first occurs, or (ii) by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. Unless otherwise stated in the notice of dismissal or stipulation, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a plaintiff who has once dismissed in any court of the United States or of any state an action based on or including the same claim.

(2) By Order of Court. Except as provided in subdivision (a)(1) of this rule, an action shall not be dismissed at the plaintiff’s instance save upon order of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon the defendant of the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss, the action shall not be dismissed against the defendant’s objection unless the counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication by the court. Unless otherwise specified in the order, a dismissal under this paragraph is without prejudice.
[As amended; effective January 1, 2005.]

(b) Involuntary Dismissal: Effect Thereof. For failure of the plaintiff to comply with these rules or any order of court, a defendant may move for dismissal of an action or of any claim against the defendant. Unless the court in its order for dismissal otherwise specifies, a dismissal under this subdivision and any dismissal not provided for in this rule, other than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, for improper venue, or for failure to join a party under Rule 19, operates as an adjudication upon the merits.
[As amended; effective January 1, 2005.]

(c) Dismissal of Counterclaim, Cross-Claim, or Third-Party Claim. The provisions of this rule apply to the dismissal of any counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim. A voluntary dismissal by the claimant alone pursuant to subdivision (a)(1) of this rule shall be made before a responsive pleading is served or, if there is none, before the introduction of evidence at the trial or hearing.
[As amended; effective January 1, 2005.]

(d) Costs of Previously Dismissed Action. If a plaintiff who has once dismissed an action in any court commences an action based upon or including the same claim against the same defendant, the court may make such order for the payment of costs of the action previously dismissed as it may deem proper and may stay the proceedings in the action until the plaintiff has complied with the order.

(e) Want of Prosecution. The court may in its discretion dismiss any action for want of prosecution on motion of any party or on the court’s own motion and after due notice to the parties, whenever plaintiff has failed for 2 years after action is filed to bring such action to trial. Any action heretofore or hereafter commenced shall be dismissed by the court in which the same shall have been commenced or to which it may be transferred on motion of any party, or on the court’s own motion, after due notice to the parties, unless such action is brought to trial within 5 years after the plaintiff has filed the action, except where the parties have stipulated in writing that the time may be extended. When, in any action after judgment, a motion for a new trial has been made and a new trial granted, such action shall be dismissed on motion of any party after due notice to the parties, or by the court of its own motion, if no appeal has been taken, unless such action is brought to trial within 3 years after the entry of the order granting a new trial, except when the parties have stipulated in writing that the time may be extended. When in an action after judgment, an appeal has been taken and judgment reversed with cause remanded for a new trial (or when an appeal has been taken from an order granting a new trial and such order is affirmed on appeal), the action must be dismissed by the trial court on motion of any party after due notice to the parties, or of its own motion, unless brought to trial within 3 years from the date upon which remittitur is filed by the clerk of the trial court. A dismissal under this subdivision (e) is a bar to another action upon the same claim for relief against the same defendants unless the court otherwise provides.
[As amended; effective January 1, 2005.]

Drafter’s Note

Drafter’s Note

2004 Amendment

Subdivision (b) is amended to conform to the 1963 and 1991 amendments to the federal rule by removing the second sentence, which authorized the defendant to file a motion for involuntary dismissal at the close of the plaintiff’s evidence in jury and nonjury cases when the plaintiff had "failed to prove a sufficient case for the court or jury." For a nonjury case, the device is replaced by the new provisions of Rule 52(c), which authorize the court to enter judgment on partial findings against the plaintiff as well as the defendant. For a jury case, the correct motion is the motion for judgment as a matter of law under amended Rule 50.



Subdivision (b) is further amended to conform to the federal rule by adding "improper venue" as a ground for dismissal under the rule that does not act as an adjudication upon the merits.



The current language in subdivision (a)(1) on repayment of filing fees and subdivision (e) on failure to prosecute is retained.

Commentary

If you like us, please share us.