Can a creditor sue again after a case has been already dismissed?

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Can a creditor sue again after a case has been already dismissed?

A creditor filed a summons (without my knowledge) and tried to garnish my wages. Later a judge ruled “garnishee defendant dismissed”. Can the creditor try again to garnish wages?

Asked on December 2, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is why and how was the case dismissed. There are two types of dismissals. One is "with prejudice," and that's essentially for a substantive reason: the court looked at the case and found something deeply wrong with it, so there isn't a case. An example would be trying to sue someone who had nothing to do with an accident or dispute--there's no basis for holding that person liable, so the case would be dismissed with prejudice. Another example would be when someone tries to sue for something he or she cannot actually recover damages for, such as someone breaking a promise to marry him or her.

The other kind of dismissal is "without prejudice," and that's when there was some procedural (think paperwork) error which could be fixed, such as sending the summons and complaint to the wrong address or failing to name some additional, vital party to the matter. In those cases, the plaintiff can fix the mistake and try again. So if the case was dismissed vs. you without prejudice, the creditor could try again.


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