How to end or cancel (dismiss) a small claims case
If you started a small claims case or filed a Defendant’s Claim against the other side and you don't want to finish the case, you can ask the court to cancel (dismiss) it.
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.
- If you agree they are going to do what you agreed to after your court date 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 come to the court date.
Fill out forms
You need to fill out either one or two forms, depending on your situation.
1. You must fill out:
- Request for Dismissal (form CIV-110)
This forms asks the court to dismiss the case.
With prejudice means that you cannot re-file your case ever. People often pick this option if they reached an agreement about all the issues and were paid the full amount agreed to.
Without prejudice means that you can re-file your case in the future (as long as you are still within the statute of limitations, like expiration dates for court cases). People often pick this if they can't find the person they want to sue but want to file later if they find them, or, if they reach an agreement but the person paying doesn't have to pay right away.
2. You may need to fill out a 2nd form, too.
Fill out a Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service (form CIV-120) if either
- You started the case and already served your Plaintiff's Claim on the other side
- You or the other side filed a Defendant's Claim
This form gets mailed to the other side to let them know that the case was dismissed. You don't need to use this form if the Plaintiffs' Claim was never served on the other side or a Defendant's Claim wasn't filed.
Make two copies of the forms you filled out.
File your forms
Bring the original and copies of the forms to a court clerk where your small claims case was filed.
The Clerk files the Request for Dismissal
The court clerk will file your Request for Dismissal. The clerk will keep the original and return the filed copies to you. Keep one for your records.
Fill out and serve the Notice of Entry of Dismissal if you need to
If you also have to file the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service (form CIV-120)
If you did serve the Plaintiff's Claim or you or the other side filed a Defendant's Claim, then you should fill out the top part of the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service. Attach a copy of the filed Request for Dismissal to it. You will need to have both served on the other side.
- You server mails a copy of the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service with a copy of the filed Request for Dismissal on the other side in your case.
- Have the server fill out and sign the Proof of Service section of the original Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service
- Make a copy of the entire Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service.
File your Notice if you have one
File the original and one copy of the Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service to let the court know the other side got a copy of the Request for Dismissal form. The clerk will keep the original and return the filed copy to you for your records.
You are done. Your case is dismissed.