Heath v. Estate of Bryan Wayne Heath et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge James H Hancock on 3/23/2016. (JLC)
2016 Mar-23 AM 11:36
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CHRISTY JAMES HEATH,
ESTATE OF BRYAN WAYNE,
HEATH, et al.
The court has before it Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #59) filed on
February 22, 2016. The Motion (Doc. #59) provides no rationale for the dismissal
sought without prejudice. On February 23, 2016, noting that the Motion (Doc. #59)
appeared to be procedurally defaulted, the court ordered Defendants to file a
responsive brief. (Doc. #60). Defendants Estate of Bryan Wayne Heath and Heath
Financial filed a response informing the court that they had no opposition to the
motion to dismiss. (Doc. #61). Defendant Principal Life Insurance Company
(“Principal”) filed a response on March 18, 2016 arguing that any dismissal of the
complaint should be predicated on certain conditions.
The court agrees. A voluntary dismissal without prejudice is not a matter of
right. Fisher v. Puerto Rico Marine Mgt., Inc., 940 F.2d 1502, 1502 (11th Cir. 1991)
(citation omitted). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) provides that a voluntary
dismissal is “only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper.” The
interests of the defendant are important; in fact, “Rule 41(a)(2) exists chiefly for
protection of defendants.” Fisher, 940 F.2d at 1503. Here, defendant Principal
would be prejudiced by a complete voluntary dismissal without prejudice. The case
has been pending for nearly two years.
Discovery has been propounded and
substantial attorneys’ fees have been incurred. See Versa Prods., Inc. v. Home Depot,
USA, Inc., 387 F.3d 1325 (11th Cir. 2004). For these reasons, the Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. #59) is due to be granted with certain conditions. A separate order of dismissal
will be entered.
DONE this the 23rd
day of March, 2016.
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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