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Asking to Dismiss a Civil Case

What is Dismissal?

If a case is dismissed it generally means the case is over. There are 3 ways a case can be dismissed:

  • The plaintiff or petitioner decides they don't want to move ahead with the case. They can file a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal or a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss.
  • The court can dismiss the case. This usually happens because nothing has happened in the case for too long. Sometimes a case can be dismissed by the court as a sanction (punishment) against one party.
  • A defendant or respondent file a motion to dismiss and the judge grants the motion. We do not have specific forms for this. See our motions page for more information. 

This page has forms and information for the first bullet - where the plaintiff or petitioner decides they to not want to move ahead with the case. 

Voluntary Dismissal by Notice or Stipulation

A plaintiff can dismiss a civil complaint, counterclaim or other claim they have filed without a court order. They can do this by filing a document called Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. This option is available if:

  • The defendant has not been served with the complaint or petition, or
  • The defendant has been served, but they have not yet filed an answer.

If the defendant has filed an answer, but the parties agree, they can both sign a Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal.

Dismissal by notice or stipulation is "without prejudice," which means it is possible for the plaintiff or counterclaimant to bring their claim again in the future by asking the court to set aside or "undo" the dismissal.

If the defendant has filed an answer and the parties do not agree to dismiss, the plaintiff would instead have to file a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 41.

 

Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim

The plaintiff or petitioner (or counterclaimant, crossclaimant, or third-party claimant) can ask to dismiss their own case by filing a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim. Forms are available at the bottom of this page. The process for this kind of motion follows the general motion process.

This kind of dismissal is "without prejudice," which means it is possible for the plaintiff or counterclaimant to bring their claim again in the future by asking the court to set aside or "undo" the dismissal.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 41.

Will your motion be decided by a judge or commissioner?

Who will decide your motion matters. You will follow different processes and timelines depending who decides your motion. 

If you already know, scroll down to read about How to File a Motion Decided by a Judge or How to File a Motion Decided by a Commissioner. If you aren't sure, look at the caption of the complaint or petition. You can also answer the questions below. 

Yes
If you have a divorce, custody, paternity, temporary separation, or protective order case, or a case about modifying an order in one of these cases, it might be heard by a commissioner. Answer the next question. 

No
Your motion will be heard by a judge. Scroll down to How to File a Motion Decided by a Judge.

Yes
If your family law case (divorce, custody, paternity, temporary separation, or a protective order) was filed in Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4, then it will be decided by a Commissioner. Scroll down to How to File a Motion Decided by a Commissioner.

No
If your case was filed in another judicial district, it will be heard by a judge. Scroll down to How to File a Motion Decided by a Judge.

I don't know
If you aren’t sure where your case is filed or whether it will be heard by a judge or commissioner, find out by contacting your court.

Filing your motion

Step 1: Fill out your paperwork and file
Start with the motion. Choose the right one for your situation from the forms section below. Here are some tips to help you with your motion:

  • Type or clearly print the motion. Use short sentences. Make your motion easy to read to help the judge understand it. 
  • Title the motion to say what you want the court to order. For example, if you need to ask the court to change discovery deadlines in your case, you can call your motion "Motion to Change Discovery Deadlines."
  • Say what you want and why you want it. Include relevant details that support what you are asking for. Be clear about what you want the judge to order.
  • Cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.
  • You can request a hearing as part of the motion. The judge might grant the request for hearing or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing.
  • Most motions can be up to 10 double-spaced pages. If you aren't sure abut the page limits, read Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 101(i)
  • Because you are the party filing the motion, you are the "moving party." The other party is sometimes called the "opposing party." 

Aftere you fill out the motion, be sure to also fill out a Notice of Hearing. You can try contacting the court to get help scheduling your hearing and filling out the Notice of Hearing.

File both the motion and the Notice of Hearing with the court

If you do not file a Notice of Hearing, the court might not schedule your hearing. If there is no hearing scheduled, the commissioner will never read your motion. 

Are you filing exhibits with your motion? If yes, read more about exhibits below.

Step 2: Serve the other parties in your case
If you know the other parties in your case agree with your motion, ask them to sign your motion and write down that they agree with what you are asking for in your motion. 

If the other parties do not agree, you will need to have them served with the papers

Step 3: Wait, respond to any other paperwork, and attend the hearing
If the other party files a Memorandum Opposing the Motion, you may file a Reply Memorandum Supporting the Motion, but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing memorandum. Choose the right one for your situation from the forms section below.

The court will schedule a hearing. Be sure to attend. See our page on Going to Court for more information. 

If you need help with the order, read about orders below.

The chart below has more information about when papers should be filed. If the responding party files a counter motion, you can see more timelines below. 

DocumentsWho FilesTime to File and Serve
MotionMoving partyServe at least 28 days before the hearing
Memorandum Opposing the MotionResponding partyAt least 14 days before the hearing
Reply Memorandum Supporting the MotionMoving partyAt least 7 days before the hearing

 

Counter Motion DocumentsWho FilesTime to File and Serve
Counter Motion (must be served with Memorandum Opposing the MotionResponding partyAt least 14 days before the hearing
Memorandum Opposing the Counter MotionOriginal moving partyAt least 7 days before the hearing
Reply Memorandum Supporting the Counter MotionResponding partyAt least 3 business days before the hearing

Step 1: Fill out your paperwork and file
Start with the motion. Choose the right one for your situation from the forms section below. Here are some tips to help you with your motion:

  • Type or clearly print the motion. Use short sentences. Make your motion easy to read to help the judge understand it. 
  • Title the motion to say what you want the court to order. For example, if you need to ask the court to change discovery deadlines in your case, you can call your motion "Motion to Change Discovery Deadlines."
  • Say what you want and why you want it. Include relevant details that support what you are asking for. Be clear about what you want the judge to order.
  • Cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.
  • You can request a hearing as part of the motion. The judge might grant the request for hearing or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing.
  • Most motions can be up to 15 double-spaced pages. If you aren't sure about the page limits, read Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 7(q)
  • Because you are the party filing the motion, you are the "moving party." The other party is sometimes called the "opposing party." 

File your motion with the court

Are you filing exhibits with your motion? If yes, read more about exhibits below.

Step 2: Serve the other parties in your case
If you know the other parties in your case agree with your motion, ask them to sign your motion and write down that they agree with what you are asking for in your motion. 

If the other parties do not agree, you will need to have them served with the papers

Step 3: Wait, respond to any other paperwork, and then file a Request to Submit for Decision and proposed order
If the other party files a Memorandum Opposing the Motion, you may file a Reply Memorandum Supporting the Motion, but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing memorandum. Choose the right one for your situation from the forms section below.

Whatever happens, make sure that you file a Request to Submit for Decision and a proposed order. The court might not decide on your motion until you file these papers. The earliest that you can file this is 14 days after you file and serve the motion. Choose the right forms for your situation from the forms section below. 

The court might schedule a hearing. If they do, be sure to attend. See our page on Going to Court for more information. 

The chart below has more information when papers should be filed. 

DocumentsWho FilesTime to File and Serve
MotionMoving party 
Memorandum Opposing the MotionResponding partyWithin 14 days after the the moving party files and serves the motion
Reply Memorandum Supporting MotionMoving partyWithin 7 days after the responding party files and serves the Memorandum Opposing the Motion
Request to Submit for DecisionMoving partyAfter the last document in this list is filed, or sooner if the responding party does not file a Memorandum Opposing the Motion. No earlier than 14 days after filing and serving the motion

 

Dismissal by the court

A civil case can be dismissed by the court for things like:

  • lack of prosecution, meaning there has been no activity in the case for a long time, or
  • failure to serve the defendant within 120 days of filing, or
  • failure to pay the filing fee.

The court will usually send a notice to the parties telling them that it plans to dismiss the case before dismissing it. The notice may give the parties a deadline to take actions to move the case forward.

If your case was dismissed for one of these reasons, you can ask to set aside or "undo" the dismissal. See our Motion to Vacate Dismissal and Reinstate Civil Case page.

Utah Rule of Judicial Administration 4-103 and Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1).

Motion to Dismiss the other party's case

A party can ask to dismiss a case filed by another party for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of jurisdiction – the court does not have the authority to hear this kind of case.
  • Insufficiency of process – there is a problem with the summons.
  • Insufficiency of service of process – there is a problem with the way the documents were served.
  • Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted – the complaint does not give the parties enough information about the claim, what kind of relief is sought, or an idea of what kind of case it is.
  • Failure to join a party – the complaint does not name a party who is indispensable to the case.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b).

If you want to file this kind of motion, use the forms on our Motions web page.

Forms

Information about filing documents in existing cases by email

The forms you need depend on your case. What is your case about?

What forms you need depend on whether your case is before a commissioner or a judge.

Voluntary Dismissal

  • 1150FA
  • 1153FA
    (used if both parties agree to the dismissal)

Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim

Forms for the Moving Party
Required forms for the moving party
  • Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim - Commissioner - PDF | Word
  • 1111FA
  • 1152FA
Optional forms for the moving party
  • 1102FA
  • 1108FA
    (to be used with exhibits, if any)
  • 1109FA
    (to be used to describe voluminous exhibits, if any)
  • 1105FA
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • 1107FA
    (if someone other than the moving party has a statement to make)
  • 1106FA
    (if the other party has disagreed with the motion and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • 1113FA
    (Used to object to the proposed order)
Forms for the Opposing Party
Required forms for the opposing party
  • 1104FA
Optional forms for the opposing party
  • Counter Motion - PDF | Word
    (if the opposing party has new arguments to make in response to the moving party's motion)
  • 1108FA
    (to be used with exhibits, if any)
  • 1109FA
    (to be used to describe voluminous exhibits, if any)
  • 1105FA
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • 1152FA
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)
  • 1113FA
    (Used to object to the proposed order)

Voluntary Dismissal

  • 1150FA
  • 1153FA
    (used if both parties agree to the dismissal)

Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim

Forms for the Moving Party
Required forms for the moving party
  • 1151FA
  • 1110FA
    (filed after all documents have been filed, or the time has passed for the other party to respond)
  • 1152FA
Optional Forms for the Moving Party
  • 1102FA
    (if both parties agree to the motion before it is filed)
  • 1107FA
    (if someone other than the moving party has a statement to make)
  • 1106FA
    (if the other party has disagreed with the motion and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • 1111FA
    (if a hearing is requested)
  • 1113FA
    (Used to object to the proposed order)
Forms for the Opposing Party
Required forms for the opposing party
  • 1104FA
Optional forms for the opposing party
  • 1105FA
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • 1003FA
    (if the opposing party has new arguments to make not presented in the moving party's motion)
  • 1111FA
    (if a hearing is requested)
  • 1110FA
    (if the other party has not filed this document)
  • 1152FA
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)
  • 1113FA
    (Used to object to the proposed order)

If you aren't sure whether your case is assigned to a judge or commissioner, find out. Call the court or look at the caption of the complaint or petition. If a commissioner's name is listed in the caption, the motion likely will be decided by a commissioner.

Voluntary Dismissal

  • 1150GE
  • 1153GE (used if both parties agree to the dismissal)

Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim

Forms for the Moving Party
Required forms for the moving party
  • Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim - PDF | Word
  • 1110GE
    (filed after all documents have been filed, or the time has passed for the other party to respond)
  • Order on Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim - PDF | Word
Optional Forms for the Moving Party
  • 1102GE
    (if both parties agree to the motion before it is filed)
  • 1107GE
    (if someone other than the moving party has a statement to make)
  • 1106GE
    (if the other party has disagreed with the motion and presented a new matter in their response, and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • 1111GE
    (if a hearing is requested)
  • 1113GE
    (Used to object to the proposed order)
Forms for the Opposing Party
Required forms for the opposing party
  • 1104GE
Optional forms for the opposing party
  • 1105GE
    (if the opposing party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • 1103GE
    (if the opposing party has new arguments to make not presented in the moving party's motion)
  • 1111GE
    (if a hearing is requested)
  • 1110GE
    (if the other party has not filed this document)
  • Order on Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Case, Counterclaim, Crossclaim or Third-party Claim - PDF | Word
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)
  • 1113GE
    (Used to object to the proposed order)