With prejudice – which means the plaintiff is barred from filing a new lawsuit based on the same claim.
Without prejudice – which means the plaintiff can still file a new lawsuit based on the same claim, such as when the defendant does not carry through on the terms of the settlement.
A dismissal can be made by the court, the plaintiff, or an agreement between both the plaintiff and defendant.
The court can dismiss a plaintiff’s case if the judge concludes the plaintiff’s case is without merit – often referred to as an involuntary dismissal.
A plaintiff can also dismiss a case – referred to as a voluntary dismissal.
When there is an out-of-court settlement, a dismissal will be filed by one of the parties stating the case is settled – often called a stipulation for dismissal or notice of dismissal. In New York, it is called a notice of discontinuance. (Settlement dismissals usually contain little or no information about the details of the settlement.)