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Dismissal with prejudice is normal

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Dismissal with prejudice is normal
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 08:16:50 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (PPC Mac OS X)

Someone (I forget who) recently pointed out in one or both of these 
newsgroups that when SFLC and Verizon settled their recent lawsuit, the 
suit was dismissed with prejudice.  What that means is that the matter 
is completely over.  Plaintiff cannot file that suit again.  At first 
glance, it would seem that plaintiff, upon settlement, would file for 
dismissal WITHOUT prejudice, so that plaintiff could re-file the suit if 
the settlement was breached, or if new copyright violations occurred.

I have checked with lawyers, and found out that dismissal WITH prejudice 
is normal in these cases.  When plaintiff sues for copyright 
infringement, that suit is over *specific* acts of infringement.  When 
the parties settle, and the suit is dismissed with prejudice, no more 
legal action can be taken against *those* *specific* *acts* of 

If defendant violates the settlement agreement over those specific acts 
(e.g., if the settlement called for a payment to be made, and it is not 
made), the remedy for plaintiff is a new suit over the breach of the 
settlement.  The settlement is a contract, and it is enforced in 
contract law--even if the original copyright suit was a pure copyright 
infringement suit, with nothing to do with with contracts.

If defendant commits *new* acts of infringement, those lead to new 
causes of action, which plaintiff can sue for.

Net result: nothing useful can be deduced from the fact that after the 
parties reach a settlement in a copyright infringement case, the lawsuit 
is dismissed with prejudice.

--Tim Smith

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