Motion to Dismiss Law & Legal Definition


A motion to dismiss is a party’s request to a court to dismiss a case because of settlement, voluntary withdrawal, procedural defect or claim is one for which the law provides a remedy.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 41(a) [USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 41] a plaintiff may voluntarily dismiss the case.

Similarly a defendant may ask the court to dismiss a case, based on one of the defenses listed in Rule 12(b) [ USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 12]. These defenses include

  • Lack of personal jurisdiction
  • Lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
  • Improper venue
  • Insufficient process
  • Insufficient service of process
  • Plaintiff's failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, and
  • Failure to join an indispensable party.

Often a defendant will file a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which is governed by Rule 12(b)(6), claiming that even if all the plaintiff's allegations are true, they would not be legally sufficient to state a claim on which relief might be granted.