What is a Stipulation of Dismissal?

A recent comment on this blog suggested the following post for information purposes.

For those (maybe my mentees) who don’t practice routinely in the Maryland or federal civil courts, a stipulation of dismissal is a tool by which a plaintiff may dismiss any unserved defendant, any defendant who has not yet filed a responsive pleading or motion or any defendant who consents in writing to the dismissal.  In practice, it is the tool by which claims settled after litigation has commenced get off of the court’s docket, either due to settlement in full or in collection cases for payment agreements that allow a case to be revived in the event of a payment default.

In state court, Rules 2-506 and 3-506 govern the stip dismissals; Rule 3-506 in particular applies in many collection settlement cases.  In federal court, Rule 41(a)(1)(ii) provides for a stipulated dismissal and subsection (i) of that rule governs notices of dismissal in cases where a defendant has filed no answer or motion for summary judgment.

Dismissals under these rules are everyday settlement “hardware” and do facilitate both efficient practice and efficient court administration.

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