Can a Case Dismissed With Prejudice Be Appealed?

Can a case dismissed with prejudice be appealed? Find out in this comprehensive guide by attorneys at Conklin Law. Call us today for any assistance.

Can You Appeal a Case Dismissed With Prejudice?

If your civil case was dismissed with prejudice, you may be considering an appeal to challenge the adverse judgment. The good news is that you can appeal a case dismissed with or without prejudice.

Whether a case was dismissed with or without prejudice does not prevent the affected party from seeking redress at an appellate court. It simply refers to whether a case can be tried again at a trial court.

There are, however, other elements that can determine whether or not you can appeal your case, including the grounds of appeal. This article will explain everything you need to know about dismissals with prejudice and appeals.

If your case was recently dismissed, reach out to Tyler Conklin at Conklin Law. We have years of experience handling appeals in Georgia and a proven track record of granted appeals. We may be able to get you the relief you deserve.

What Is a Dismissal With Prejudice?

A dismissal with prejudice, also known as adjudication upon the merits, is the trial court’s final judgment. This means that the court has made a judgment on the factual and legal merits of the case, and it cannot be brought to the same court again. In cases of involuntary dismissals, where the defendant files a motion to dismiss, and the judge grants it, the dismissal is also considered with prejudice and final.

A dismissal with prejudice means a case is dismissed permanently. However, a permanent dismissal of the case at the trial level doesn’t mean you cannot appeal the judgment at a higher court. An experienced appeals attorney can analyze your case and determine whether you have valid grounds for appeal to a higher judge.

Dismissal Without Prejudice

A dismissal without prejudice means your case is closed temporarily and can be filed again in the same court. Generally, civil claims are dismissed without prejudice in the following cases:

  • Voluntary dismissals by the plaintiff: When you dismiss your own civil lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss before the first witness is sworn or by reaching an out-of-court settlement with the defendant. A dismissal under either of these conditions does not require a court order.

  • Dismissal by the court: The court may dismiss a case without prejudice for the lack of prosecution, lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, or failure to join a party.

Your attorney can help you understand how to re-file a case after a dismissal without prejudice.

Voluntary Vs. Involuntary Dismissal

Voluntary Dismissal

A case is dismissed voluntarily when the plaintiff initiates the dismissal. They can do so without a court order by filing a notice of dismissal or a stipulation to dismiss. A notice to dismiss must be filed before the first witness is sworn. If the two parties reach a settlement, the plaintiff must then file a stipulation to dismiss signed by all the parties.

Other than these cases, a voluntary dismissal will require a court order, and it must comply with court rules. For example, if the plaintiff seeks to dismiss the claim after the defendant filed a counterclaim, the court will not grant the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss.

According to OCGA§ 9-11-41(a), a voluntary dismissal is always without prejudice. However, a second notice to dismiss will lead to a permanent dismissal.

Involuntary Dismissal

An involuntary dismissal occurs when a defendant moves to dismiss a claim. A defendant may file a motion to dismiss when the plaintiff fails to comply with court orders or to prosecute. If the judge grants their motion, the case is dismissed involuntarily.

Involuntary dismissals can be with or without prejudice. When the case is dismissed for failure to prosecute, which means they failed to act or appear in court, the dismissal is without prejudice. The same is true for dismissals for lack of jurisdiction or improper venue.

However, the failure to comply with court rules and orders leads to a dismissal with prejudice.

How Do You Appeal Your Case After a Dismissal With Prejudice?

When you hire an appeals attorney, the first thing they do is to analyze your case for valid grounds for appeal. Civil and criminal appeals alike can only be sought if an error was made in the trial court that affected the outcome of the case.

Such grounds for appeal can include:

  • Errors of law or fact 

  • Procedural errors

  • Jury misconduct

When your appeals lawyer establishes the grounds for your appeal, they can initiate the appeals process. Here’s how it generally goes:

  • Your attorney files a notice of appeal with the trial court. 

  • Your attorney prepares and files a written brief with the appellate court. The brief must explain the errors that were made during the trial, the governing laws, and the relief you are seeking. The opposing party may respond by filing an opposing brief.

  • The appellate court may schedule an oral argument, but appellate judges often make a judgment based on the written briefs only.

  • The appellate judges review your case and make a judgment. They may uphold the lower court’s ruling, reverse it, or remand it.

Attorneys at Conklin Law Can Help You 

A dismissal with prejudice may sound like the end, but it is not. Your fight for justice is not over until you have exhausted all your options. If your case has recently been dismissed by a civil court, you need to act fast. The Court of Appeals has strict deadlines for filing appeal motions. If you don’t file in time, you may lose your right to appeal.

Contact us at Conklin Law for an experienced and diligent representation. We have a proven track record in successfully appealing cases at the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia. With our extensive knowledge and experience, you may finally be able to recover the compensation you deserve.

Schedule your free consultation today!

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