Start My Answer

What Is a Nonsuit Without Prejudice?

George Simons | October 19, 2022

Make the right defense and debt collectors might give up.

Summary: When you respond to a debt collection lawsuit, you might receive notice your case is a nonsuit without prejudice. Find out what that means and if you might still be on the hook for the debt.

A nonsuit refers to a legal action to dismiss a lawsuit. This dismissal can be voluntary or involuntary. A voluntary nonsuit refers to when the plaintiff (the individual who filed the case) willingly discontinues the case.

An involuntary nonsuit describes an action by the court to dismiss a lawsuit if the court finds reasons to dismiss the case either through a motion of dismissal filed by the defendant or when it is not up to legal standards.

What Is the Difference Between a Nonsuit With Prejudice and a Nonsuit Without Prejudice?

When a court dismisses a lawsuit with prejudice, it marks the end of that claim for both the plaintiff and defendant. The plaintiff can neither bring the case back to the court nor take it to a higher court.

On the other hand, a nonsuit without prejudice refers to temporarily dismissing a lawsuit by the plaintiff. The plaintiff may dismiss the claim to amend the claims or settle the matter outside the court. If need be, the plaintiff may refile the lawsuit provided this is done within the statute of limitations.

Nonsuits can be complicated. Before you dismiss a case without prejudice, you must conduct extensive research on the possible drawbacks and repercussions.

Use SoloSuit to respond to debt collection lawsuits in 15 minutes.

When Can I Take a Nonsuit Without Prejudice?

You can dismiss a lawsuit with prejudice anytime, permanently ending your case. For a nonsuit without prejudice, the situation requires precision because you don't want to end the lawsuit; you want to postpone the case.

Most state courts in the United States allow plaintiffs to dismiss a lawsuit for the first time voluntarily. You have to give the notice of dismissal before:

  • The jury retires
  • The judge sustains a motion to strike evidence
  • The case reaches the court for decision

You may also take a nonsuit orally in court. The oral dismissal is best suited for when the case presentation faces many challenges.

In a federal court, the law provides narrower options for the plaintiff to dismiss a case voluntarily. Firstly, you can only discharge a claim by giving a unilateral notice of voluntary dismissal before the defendant files an answer or counterclaim.

Secondly, you have to request the court for a voluntary dismissal before the opposing party files a motion for summary judgment. However, you may still voluntarily dismiss the claim even after the two scenarios but will require the court's permission or a signed agreement between you and the defendant's side.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

How Many Nonsuits Without Prejudice Can I Take?

In a state court, you are only allowed to dismiss a lawsuit once voluntarily. However, you may receive more than one nonsuit request provided both you and the defendant agree on the dismissal. The state courts do not specify the maximum number of nonsuits you may take under such an agreement.

In a federal court, voluntary claim dismissal is a bit complicated. You need to understand the "two dismissal rules" carefully. Otherwise, you may end up permanently dismissing your case. You do not want to risk dismissing your claim with prejudice due to misunderstanding the law.

You may voluntarily dismiss a claim in a federal court by:

  • Giving a dismissal action notice before the opposing party answers your claim or files a motion of summary judgment
  • A signed agreement between you and the defendant

If you previously took a nonsuit for the same claim, the federal court may grant the case's dismissal based on adjudication on the merits. Adjudication on the merits means that the court has considered all provided evidence and legal submissions before deciding to dismiss the lawsuit.

Besides, if you had dismissed another claim before, the adjudication on the merits rule may apply. The two dismissal rules may prompt the federal court to close your case permanently.

It does not matter if your previous dismissal was of a different claim; the fact that you have dismissed another lawsuit in the past could result in your claim being dismissed with prejudice.

There's no limit to how many times you can voluntarily dismiss the claim if the two dismissal rule doesn't apply to your lawsuit. For example, if you and the defendant agree to dismiss the case without prejudice the second time.

Respond to debt collectors with SoloSuit and have your case dismissed.

Can I Take a Nonsuit Without Prejudice for Parts of the Claim?

No. It would be best if you voluntarily dismissed the entire lawsuit against the defendant. Instead of dismissing parts of the claim, amend the requests to remove the dismissible parts.

How Do I Refile My Claim After a Nonsuit Without Prejudice?

First, you have to ensure you refile your claim within the statute of limitations. Your refiled claim is only valid in both state and federal courts when filed within the stipulated time frame.

Secondly, you may encounter setbacks while refiling your claim if your opponent files a counterclaim. The compulsory counterclaim rule provides that you don't take a nonsuit or voluntarily dismiss a case if a defendant has filed a counter lawsuit of any kind against you.

In a state court, the setbacks might be insignificant. However, in a federal court, it could threaten your chance to refile your case. For instance, if you voluntarily dismiss a case that has a counterclaim in a federal court, the court does not discontinue the counterclaim. You end up becoming the defendant, and if your opponent wins, the case is closed, you lose the chance to refile a claim, and you pay the damages.

Using the six-month saving period, you can refile your case in court. The savings statute enables you to refile your claim within six months after the statute of limitations expires. But the six-month savings period comes with several pitfalls.

Pitfalls of the Six Months Savings Period When Refiling a Claim

There are certain pitfalls associated with the six-month savings period. In state courts, the six months are counted soon after the judge signs the dismissal order. In a federal court, the period is calculated from the date the clerk enters the signed order. To beat the deadline, always count the six months from the date of the dismissal notice.

You cannot refile a claim if it falls under the Federal Tort Claims Act under the savings statute.

Causes of action that require pre-suit notice may be subject to the savings statute in some states but not others. For instance, in some states, medical malpractice claims cannot be refiled once dismissed.

The six-month savings period is only offered once. Even if you refile claims consecutively, the six months are counted from the first dismissal date.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

Get Started

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on How to Beat Every Debt Collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win Against Credit Card Companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get Answers to These FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review