Dismiss Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Dismiss, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Dismiss?

v. A judge’s ruling that a portion or all of the lawsuit is terminated without allowing additional evidence or testimony. When the judge is convinced that the plaintiff has not and cannot prove his/her/its case, the judgment can be made to dismiss the case. This may occur before, during, or at the end of a trial and can be based on the complaint failing to allege a cause of action, on a motion for summary judgment, plaintiff’s opening statement, or a evidentiary development. Dismissal may occur at the judge’s discretion or upon the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff may choose to dismiss a cause of action before or during a trial if the case is settled, if it cannot be proven, or the trial strategy dictates eliminating a weak claim. When a lawsuit it dropped against the party, it is “dismissed.”