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July 25, 2011


(1) Subject to the provisions of Rule 23.05, Rule 23.06, or Rule 66 or any statute, and except when a motion for summary judgment made by an adverse party is pending, the plaintiff shall have the right to take a voluntary nonsuit to dismiss an action without prejudice by filing a written notice of dismissal at any time before the trial of a cause and serving a copy of the notice upon all parties, and if a party has not already been served with a summons and complaint, the plaintiff shall also serve a copy of the complaint on that party; or by an oral notice of dismissal made in open court during the trial of a cause; or in jury trials at any time before the jury retires to consider its verdict and prior to the ruling of the court sustaining a motion for a directed verdict. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon the defendant of plaintiff’s motion to dismiss, the defendant may elect to proceed on such counterclaim in the capacity of a plaintiff.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a plaintiff who has twice dismissed in any court an action based on or including the same claim. [As amended by order entered January 25, 1991, effective July 1, 1991, and by order adopted January 24, 1992, effective July 1, 1992; and by order filed January 31, 2002, effective July 1, 2002.]

(3) A voluntary nonsuit to dismiss an action without prejudice must be followed by an order of voluntary dismissal signed by the court and entered by the clerk. The date of entry of the order will govern the running of pertinent time periods. [Added by order filed December 10, 2003; effective July 1, 2004.]


(1) For failure of the plaintiff to prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of court, a defendant may move for dismissal of an action or of any claim against the defendant.

(2) After the plaintiff in an action tried by the court without a jury has completed the presentation of plaintiff’s evidence, the defendant, without waiving the right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. The court shall reserve ruling until all parties alleging fault against any other party have presented their respective proof-in-chief. The court as trier of the facts may then determine them and render judgment against the plaintiff or may decline to render any judgment until the close of all the evidence. If the court grants the motion for involuntary dismissal, the court shall find the facts specially and shall state separately its conclusion of law and direct the entry of the appropriate judgment. [As amended by order entered December 14, 2009, effective July 1, 2010.]

(3) Unless the court in its order for dismissal otherwise specifies, a dismissal under this subdivision and any dismissal not provided for in this Rule 41, other than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction or for improper venue or for lack of an indispensable party, operates as an adjudication upon the merits. [As amended by order effective July 1, 1998.]


The provisions of this Rule 41 also apply to the dismissal of any counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim.

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