Articles Tagged with voluntary dismissal

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BROSNAN V. CRAMER, 2023-NCCOA-______ (2023). 

  1. Facts: The facts here are simple. Plaintiff and Defendant married in 2008. After years of marriage, Plaintiff filed claims for alimony, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, post separation support (PSS), and attorney fees on October 15, 2020. Defendant filed his response on January 20, 2021. Plaintiff filed her reply on March 15, 2021. Then Plaintiff filed a voluntary dismissal of her pending PSS claim on April 8, 2021. She dismissed her PSS claim without prejudice. Then in a separate lawsuit, Defendant filed a complaint for divorce on April 19, 2021. Plaintiff accepted service of that complaint and did not file any answer to the divorce complaint. As such, Defendant moved for summary judgment and a divorce was granted on June 9, 2021. A mere 20 days later, Plaintiff sought to resurrect her dismissed PSS claim by filing a motion in the cause. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. Trial court denied the motion to dismiss and ordered Defendant pay PSS. Defendant appeals. 

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The Rules of Civil Procedure often have a few points where a case can end. They are there to make sure that all parties to the case are proceeding fairly, timely, and efficiently. Over time, these stopping points have begun to evolve as more and more litigants are utilizing them to “win” cases. One such rule is Rule 41(b). Rule 41 is about dismissal of actions. Part (a) is about voluntary dismissals by the plaintiff or by order of the judge. These voluntary dismissals are typically without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiff may file a lawsuit again, usually within a year. Part (b) is about involuntary dismissals. Typically, a defendant would file a motion to dismiss a case or claim based upon Rule 41(b). The grounds for dismissal under this Rule are failure of the plaintiff to prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of court. Distinct case law has fleshed out the operation of the Rule, and what is required to be shown unto the court in order to have a Rule 41 motion to dismiss granted. Continue reading →