They are free to file a new case on the same claim.
There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post is not, and may not be relied on as, legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Best wishes for a just and expeditious resolution.
Chances are you may never see this lawsuit again. But if I were you, I might do the smart thing and file the motion the Judge suggested. Get a lawyer to help you. As you've stated, you want a dismissal WITH prejudice. Good luck!
If you think my response is the best response, it would help me if you would indicate that. Also, please note that my responses to question(s) are NOT legal advice from me to you because I am NOT your lawyer, you are NOT my client, and we do NOT currently have an attorney-client relationship. Thanks!
Without prejudice generally means the case can be refiled if the plaintiff decides to do it in the future and meets the requirements to refile the case.
With predjudice (dismissal) means the case cannot be refiled for all practical purposes in that court.
If you ever agree to a dismissal of a case try to get the plaintiff to agree dismissal with prejudice so you can know the case is forever done with.
Without prejudice means the case can be re-filed. If it is re-filed, you can ask the judge to award you sanctions (i.e. money) for the plaintiff's failure to appear. Just file a motion for sanctions. See Rule 1.380 Fla.R.Civ.P. You can borrow some of the language from the rule. You could also file a motion to strike their pleadings, but this might alert someone to the fact that they failed to appear for the pre-trial. The upside is if the court grants your motion, it may operate as an adjudication on the merits of the case (i.e. equivalent to a dismissal with prejudice).
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