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What If We Settle Before the Court Hearing?

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You and the other side should continue to try to reach agreement about your issues on your own. Because a judge can never know the facts of your case as well as you know them yourselves, it often makes sense to work out your own issues.  In most cases, resolving your own disputes saves time, money, and a lot of the stress associated with going to court.

If you DO settle your dispute, write down what was agreed to. Include:
  • The names and addresses of the two people,
  • A brief description of the “what,” “when” and “where” of the dispute that has been resolved,
  • A statement of what each person is giving up and what each agrees to do,
  • The date the agreement is being signed, and
  • The signatures of everyone involved.
Make sure everyone has a copy of the agreement, and keep your copy of the agreement in a safe place.
  1. If you settle the case after it was filed at court, but before the hearing – and you both agreed that the case would NOT be filed again -- your hearing needs to be taken off the court calendar and the case has to be dismissed with prejudiceOpens new window  
  2. If you settle the case after it was filed at court, but before the hearing –and there was NO agreement that the case could not be filed again -- your hearing needs to be taken off the court calendar and the case has to be dismissed without prejudice. Opens new window

Usually, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to file a Motion to Dismiss the case. This is the best and easiest way to finalize the matter. However, the plaintiff might not know they should do this. In this case the defendant might consider contacting them and explaining this to them.

If the plaintiffs won't dismiss the case, even though it has been settled, the defendant may make a motion Opens new window  asking the court to dismiss the case. The defendant may make the motion in one of two ways: 

  1. The defendant can go to court on the hearing date and ask for the case to be dismissed.  He or she would have to give the court proof that the case was settled by providing the original receipt or original cancelled check proving the amount was paid in full.  The judge will make a ruling. 

    Or -
  2. The defendant can fill out and file a Request for Dismissal (Form SC-105) Opens new window and Order on Request for Court Order (Small Claims) (Form SC-105A) Opens new window with the court.  Attach a copy of the cancelled check or receipt of having paid the plaintiff, or other written proof that the case is settled, to the form.  The clerk will set a hearing for this Request and mail a copy of the form
    to the Plaintiff.


NOTE 1:
  The Request for Dismissal (Form SC-105 and SC-105A) must be filed at least 20 days before the hearing.


NOTE 2:
 If the hearing for the Request for Dismissal would be set at a date later than the original hearing set for trial, the defendant might choose to go to the first court date and simply ask the judge to dismiss the case. If the defendant does that, he or she needs to take the proof of settlement to show the court.


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