One of the first questions we ask when engaged to defend a client in a matter: Is it possible to secure a dismissal before our client must expend unnecessary time, resources and emotional energy? Indeed, some claims have merit and are appropriately pursued. Many claims, however, do not – at least against the client we are retained to represent. In the latter circumstance, our duty on behalf of our client is to educate opposing counsel and request an agreed dismissal. A file is to be concluded in the manner most expeditious and favorable to a client. We take an oath to “not encourage either the commencement of or the continuance of any action or proceeding from any motive of passion or interest.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are often pressed to file claims with limited information, as their clients often contact them at or near the tolling of the statute of limitations. Counsel appropriately “casts a wide net” to name all parties involved in the incident who might or should be a defendant. Some should be included, some should not. An attorney for a Plaintiff welcomes information about the case (good and bad) as they do not get paid unless the case results in a settlement or judgment. So, when appropriate, we ask about dismissal.

Of course, minds differ on the merits of a lawsuit, and dismissal is not regularly agreed to. Even if rejected by the Plaintiff and his/her counsel, a defending attorney should inquire into and discuss why dismissal should be considered.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.