Can I Dismiss a Case in Federal Court and Refile it at a Later Time?
Fed. R. Civ. P. 41 (a) (1)(B) generally means that if this is the first time you have filed the claim in a federal or state court and voluntarily dismiss it, it will be able to be refiled. However, if the same claim was previously filed in another court and you voluntarily dismiss it, it may not be filed at a later date. Therefore, a second dismissal will bar bringing the claim a third time.
Please see the following Federal Rules:
Rule 41. Dismissal of Actions
(a) Voluntary Dismissal.
(1) By the Plaintiff.
(A) Without a Court Order. Subject to Rules 23(e), 23.1(c), 23.2, and
66 and any applicable federal statute, the plaintiff may dismiss an
action without a court order by filing:
(i) a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an
answer or a motion for summary judgment; or
(ii) a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have
(B) Effect. Unless the notice or stipulation states otherwise, the
dismissal is without prejudice. But if the plaintiff previously dismissed
any federal-or state-court action based on or including the same claim, a
notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits.
(2) By Court Order; Effect. Except as provided in Rule 41(a)(1), an
action may be dismissed at the plaintiff's request only by court order,
on terms that the court considers proper. If a defendant has pleaded a
counterclaim before being served with the plaintiff's motion to dismiss,
the action may be dismissed over the defendant's objection only if the
counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication. Unless the
order states otherwise, a dismissal under this paragraph (2) is without
(b) Involuntary Dismissal; Effect. If the plaintiff fails to prosecute
or to comply with these rules or a court order, a defendant may move to
dismiss the action or any claim against it. Unless the dismissal order
states otherwise, a dismissal under this subdivision (b) and any
dismissal not under this rule — except one for lack of jurisdiction,
improper venue, or failure to join a party under Rule 19 — operates as an
adjudication on the merits.
(c) Dismissing a Counterclaim, Crossclaim, or Third-Party Claim. This
rule applies to a dismissal of any counterclaim, crossclaim, or
third-party claim. A claimant's voluntary dismissal under Rule
41(a)(1)(A)(i) must be made:
(1) before a responsive pleading is served; or
(2) if there is no responsive pleading, before evidence is introduced
at a hearing or trial.
(d) Costs of a Previously Dismissed Action. If a plaintiff who
previously dismissed an action in any court files an action based on or
including the same claim against the same defendant, the court:
(1) may order the plaintiff to pay all or part of the costs of that
previous action; and
(2) may stay the proceedings until the plaintiff has complied.