Denver Real Estate Law and Family Law Blog. (Vol 1.38) July 1, 2014
By Craig Franklin Chambers Esq. 7851 S. Elati Street #204, Littleton, CO 80120
The Littleton Lawyer.
As a Littleton lawyer specializing in family law, divorce and real estate law and litigation in Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Denver, Lakewood, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson County, clients often ask: What does Dismissed With Prejudice mean?
The term comes up in the context of the dismissal of an issue or a case during litigation.
There are two ways a case gets dismissed: either by agreement of the parties or by order of the court. And there are two types of dismissals: a Dismissal with Prejudice and a Dismissal without Prejudice.
A dismissal without prejudice means simply the case can be brought again. This is common in criminal law where the prosecutors dismiss a case voluntarily before it goes to trial to give themselves time to gather more evidence.
A dismissal with prejudice means that the issue or charge cannot be brought again. The case or issue is decided. If you find additional facts that arise from the same circumstances, or incur additional damages from these underlying facts , it doesn't matter. Once the case is decided, it is decided, you can't revisit the case, and the parties and the court system move on.
This is what occurs in a criminal case if a defendant is acquitted at trial or in a civil case if an issue is litigated and decided. While there are vehicles for reconsideration or appeal, once those time limits pass, the issue or case is res judicata and cannot be brought again.
There are exceptions, of course. If one party commits fraud during the real estate litigation, the issue which was the subject of fraud can certainly be brought again. That is why when you file your disclosures in a dissolution of marriage, you must disclose every asset, no matter how small or inconsequential.
When you pursue a civil case, one of the most important tasks is to sift through the facts and develop them. Some facts have a legal consequences, others do not, and one of the most valuable services a lawyer offers is spotting the relevant issues on the case.