How to dismiss your civil lawsuit

If you decide you don't want to keep going with your case, or you and the other side resolve your case before you go to trial, you can ask the court to cancel (dismiss) the case.

Common reasons to dismiss your case

  • You were paid whatever the other side owed you.
  • You can’t find whoever you want to sue, but want to be able to sue again later.
  • You don't want to sue all the people you originally sued. For example, you sued three people, but now you only want to sue two of them. You can dismiss against the one person, but still keep suing the other two.
  • You changed your mind and don't want to sue anymore.
  • You reached an agreement with the other side.

If you and other side agree

If you have an agreement, write it up. But don't dismiss your case until the other side does what they agreed to do.

  • If you haven't already, write up your agreement.
  • It's usually a good idea to wait to dismiss your case until after the other person pays you or does what they agreed to do, like fix or return something.
  • You need to tell the court that the case settled. You do not need to get into the details. Do this by filng Notice of Settlement of the Entire Case (form CM-200).
  • If you agree they are going to do what you agreed to after a court date or your trial, you may want to contact the court to move the court date out. Then, if they don't do what they agreed to you can still continue with your case.

How to ask for your case dismissed

  • Fill out forms

    Fill out the following forms

    • Request for Dismissal (form CIV-110)
      • Item 2 on the form asks about fee waivers. Check the first box if you got a fee waiver to file your case. Check the second box if you did not get a fee waiver.
      • If you got a fee waiver, you may have to pay back the waived fee if you are getting paid $10,000 or more by the other side. Read the second page of the form to find out if this applies to you.
      • Below Item 2, date, print and sign your name.
      • If the defendant filed a Cross-Complaint against you in the case, they will need to sign the Request for Dismissal form, too. This is rare. Otherwise, they don't have to sign this form.

    With prejudice means that you can't file a new civil case against this defendant about the same issues you put in the Complaint you filed. The dismissal is final. The case is over and done with. For example, if you're dismissing the case because you changed your mind about suing the defendant you cannot change your mind and file the case again.

    Without prejudice means you can file again about the same issue you put in the Complaint you filed if you need to. If you're dismissing the case because the defendant agreed to carry out the contract you were suing them for, you may need to later sue them again if they break the contract again and you lose money. Once you dismiss without prejudice, your legal time limits continue to run as if a case were never filed. If you decide to refile the case you are subject to the legal time limits.


    If you have no more legal issues for the judge to decide in your case you can check the "Entire action of all parties and all causes of action" box. 
    • Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service (form CIV-120)
      • Don’t file this form if you haven’t served the defendant with your Complaint.
  • Make copies of the form(s)

    Make 2 copies of the completed form(s).

  • File the Request for Dismissal with the court

    Bring the originals and copies of the Request for Dismissal to the clerk at the courthouse where the case was originally filed. They will file the forms and return the copy to you. Keep the copy for your records.

    You don't have to file the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service now. You need it for the next step.

  • Serve the forms

    Have someone 18 or older mail:

    • A copy of the filed Request for Dismissal
    • A copy of the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service

    Your server should then fill out the Proof of Service on page 2 of the original Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service.
    Make a copy.

  • File the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service

    File the original and a copy of the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service with the clerk’s office.

    Keep the copy of this form for your records, too.


After you’ve completed these steps your case is dismissed (closed). You can’t file any more forms in it.

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