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What does Stipulation and Order for Dismissal with Prejudice mean?

Saint Paul, MN |

Money was paid to a building contractor for a job he did not complete and would not complete. He refused to put siding on a cider block foundation, even though he signed a contract stating he would do it. His lawyer then sued me for more money, such as Lawyer fees,
fees for work he did not do. What is the proper way to handle this? Thank you

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Attorney answers 3


The proper way to handle this matter is to consult with an attorney regarding this matter. It is impossible to tell from the limited information that you provided as to your rights and remedies. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing any deadlines or loss of your available rights.


If you have been sued, you have a limited time to serve and file an Answer to the Complaint and to file any counter-claim. Missing necessary procedural deadlines can be fatal to your case and your defense. You should immediately consult with experienced legal counsel.

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"Stipulation" is a term signifying that the opposing parties to a law suit have come to an agreement about something (such as, a settlement of the case), and "dismissal with prejudice" means the case will be dismissed and cannot be re-filed ever again. From your very limited facts, it would appear unlikely that you have settled this case, unless the contractor has offered you money. If Minnesota procedural rules requires that you file a counter-claim if you have one in the event someone sues you (as in, for example, your claim for incomplete work and possible over payment), then a dismissal with prejudice could foreclose your right to ever sue the contractor for what you claim he owes you. It is for this reason that you need to consult with a construction lawyer in your area. You might also check your state's regulatory laws regarding home improvement contractors, as you likely have a consumer claim which the state attorney general's office will pursue on your behalf. Agreeing to a stipulation and dismissal could seriously compromise any claims you may have.

Mark William Oakley

Mark William Oakley


OK, I checked, and Minnesota DOES have a "compulsory counter-claim" requirement! That means, if the contractor has sued you, and is now trying to get you to agree to a stipulation and dismissal, then you will be BARRED from making any future claim against him. You MUST hire a MN lawyer to advise you, and you MUST file a counter-claim if you hope to recover any money you are owed under the contract. Here is the Minnesota AG's Office web page regarding home improvement contracts, and in particular, take a look at claims against the Contractor's recovery Fund for incomplete home improvements:

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