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Dismissal without liability

Santa Ana, CA |

if a civil action on my behalf was filed against an individual and I wasn't able to afford an attorney to handle the case any longer due to an unexpected medical expense, how do I dismiss the civil action without being held liabel. Can I re-file in small claims?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

If you plan to file a a request for dismissal, consider calling up the opposing side before you do so and have your opponent stipulate to a waiver of costs in exchange for a dismissal without prejudice. Most parties will gladly stipulate to waive any costs in exchange for dismissal. (This may be a little more difficult if you plan to re-file in the Small Claims Court. In any event, if this is early on in the litigation, any costs that have been incurred may not be that great.)

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


You can file a Request for Dismissal form with the court. Check the box 1.a.(2) "without prejudice" and 1.b.(1) Complaint to permit yourself the ability to refile a new lawsuit in small claims court.

Here is the form:

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


If you filed a lawsuit, you can dismiss it at any time by filing a request for entry of dismissal. If you want to reserve your right to bring the claim again, then mark the box that says "without prejudice."

If the other party has already appeared in the lawsuit by filing an answer or some other pleading, then you could be liable for their costs, and possibly attorney's fees depending on the type of case, if you dismiss.

You may want to consult with an attorney prior to dismissing to protect yourself.

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