Voluntary Dismissal Law and Legal Definition

Voluntary dismissal refers to the termination of a suit at the request of the plaintiff in a suit. The plaintiff is the party who initially filed a law suit with the court. In a voluntary dismissal, the plaintiff voluntarily withdraws the action or claim it brought before the court.

Voluntary dismissal procedure is discussed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 41(a). Voluntary dismissal may be made by the plaintiff alone or by both the plaintiff and defendant jointly making a stipulation for the dismissal. The plaintiff can make a voluntary dismissal of a suit only before the defendant makes any formal court action. If the defendant has made a formal court action, the plaintiff can dismiss the suit only if the defendant signs an agreement with the plaintiff to dismiss the case or by seeking a court order for the dismissal. The plaintiff may bring the suit once again to the court unless the order for dismissal denies it in cases where a court order was sought for the dismissal. A voluntary dismissal again in that case will mean that the plaintiff shall loose their right to bring a same action again to court.