1. A plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of a case or of a defendant, without a decision on the merits. ? Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a voluntary dismissal is equivalent to a nonsuit. Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a).
¡ª Also termed voluntary discontinuance. [Cases: Federal Civil Procedure 1691; Pretrial Procedure 501. C.J.S. Dismissal and Nonsuit ¡ì¡ì 2¨C7, 9¨C10, 12, 14¨C16, 24.]
2. A court’s dismissal of a case or of a defendant because the plaintiff has failed to make out a legal case or to bring forward sufficient evidence.
¡ª Also termed involuntary nonsuit; compulsory nonsuit. See judgment of nonsuit under JUDGMENT. [Cases: Trial 139.1, 159, 384. C.J.S. Trial ¡ì¡ì 346¨C368, 405¨C408, 410, 415, 423, 1052¨C1057.] ¡ª nonsuit, vb.
¡°It did not follow [in the 15th¨C18th centuries], of course, that the issue in a trial at nisi prius would ever get to the jury at all, for it might be that the plaintiff would be ¡®non-suited¡¯ on the ground that he had failed to prove something which was essential to his case or that the case which he had proved was different from that which he had pleaded.¡± Geoffrey Radcliffe & Geoffrey Cross, The English Legal System 184 (G.J. Hand & D.J. Bentley eds., 6th ed. 1977).
¡°Nonsuit … is equivalent to a demurrer to the evidence in that, even if all facts that plaintiff presents are true, the evidence is not, as a matter of law, sufficient to entitle plaintiff to a judgment. However, a voluntary nonsuit, unlike a demurrer or a directed verdict which resolves the action on its merits, may result in another trial of the cause.¡± 75A Am. Jur. 2d Trial ¡ì 853 (1991).