If you filed a small claims case, you may reach a juncture at which you settle the matter with the defendant. If you reach a settlement, or have another reason for dismissing the case, there is a procedure to follow. Because small claims court is a bit less formal than civil court, the process to dismiss a case can be accomplished with less structure. Provided you follow specific steps, you likely can successfully request a dismissal in small claims court with a letter.
- Skill level:
Draft a letter requesting the judge to dismiss your small claims case. Set forth in the letter the reason why you want the case dismissed. For example, advise the court that the case is settled.
Attach a copy of the settlement agreement to the letter requesting dismissal if you seek to end the case for that reason.
Obtain the signature of the opposing party, along with your own. If you cannot conveniently obtain the signature of the opposing party on the letter, make it clear at the bottom of the letter that you delivered a copy to the opposing party.
Deliver the original letter to the clerk of the court to be filed in your case. Pursuant to court procedure as set forth in "Small Claims Procedure: A Practical Guide" by Patricia Pearl, this is the proper method of providing this type of notice to the court. The clerk of the court will advise the judge of the letter. The judge will review your request and, provided everything is in order, will grant a dismissal.
Petitioning for Dismissal
Tips and warnings
- If the other party signs off on your letter requesting that the judge dismiss the case, the case likely will be terminated faster.
- Before sending a letter requesting dismissal in small claims court because you settled the case, make sure you have a fully executed settlement agreement. Do not seek to have a small claims case dismissed prematurely before you have the signed settlement agreement in hand.
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