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WordsofLaw

 

Words of law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law.

Today’s phrases are “ with prejudice” and “ without prejudice.”

With prejudice, adv. With loss of all rights; in a way that finally disposes of a party’s claim and bars any future action on that claim.

Dismissal with prejudice, a dismissal usually after an adjudication on the merits, barring the plaintiff from prosecuting any later lawsuit on the same claim.  If after a dismissal with prejudice, the plaintiff files a later suit on the same claim, the defendant in the later suit can assert the defense of res judicata (claim preclusion).

Dismissed with prejudice (of a case) removed from the court’s docket in such a way that the plaintiff is foreclosed from filing a suit again on the same claim or claims.

Without prejudice, adv. Without loss of any rights; in a way that does not harm or cancel the legal rights or privileges of a party.  <dismissed without prejudice>.   “…The use of the phrase simply shows that there has been no decision of the case upon the merits, and prevents defendant from setting up the defense of res adjudicata.  In other words, it leaves the whole subject as open to litigation as if no proceeding had ever been had in the matter.”  40 Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure 2130-31 (William Mack ed., 1912).

Dismissal without prejudice, a dismissal that does not bar the plaintiff from refiling the lawsuit within the applicable limitations period.

Dismissed without prejudice (of a case) removed from the court’s docket in such a way that the plaintiff may refile the same suit on the same claim.

Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th ed., Bryan A. Garner, Editor in Chief, Thomson Reuters, 2014.

 

With prejudice, adv. (or adj.): final and binding with the effect of res judicata.

Without prejudice, adv. (or adj.): without injury to or detraction from one’s own rights or claims or any cause of action or defense asserted.

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, Philip Babcock Gove, Editor in Chief, Merriam Webster, 1981.

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