Debt lawsuits in Texas can end in a variety of ways. In some instances, even the plaintiff themselves may put a stop to an ongoing lawsuit that has wound up in court.
They may do so by filing a Motion for Nonsuit. The following guide will help you better understand what this means, and what the implications of a nonsuit may be in regard to a case you’re currently involved in.
What is a ‘Nonsuit’ in a Texas Debt Lawsuit?
A nonsuit does not involve a judge or jury making a decision about a debt lawsuit or similar case. In Texas, a plaintiff in such a case may file a Motion for Nonsuit as a way of voluntarily dismissing the lawsuit on their own.
Dismissal of the case tends to be the primary result when a plaintiff (which, in this case, would likely be a creditor) files a nonsuit. Be aware, because the court didn’t make a decision about the case based on the merits of either side’s argument, a plaintiff who files for nonsuit typically reserves the right to refile their lawsuit at a later date if they don’t miss the deadline to refile. Under Texas law, a creditor or debt collector has four years to file a lawsuit against a debtor.
Reasons for a Nonsuit
It may seem odd for a plaintiff to dismiss their own lawsuit. However, there are several potential legitimate reasons a creditor might file for nonsuit. Examples include the following:
- A plaintiff is aware of errors or omissions in their initial lawsuit, and would like the opportunity to refile
- A plaintiff believes they may reach an out-of-court settlement (or they have already done so)
- A plaintiff believes the cost of continuing with a lawsuit is too great
- A plaintiff has changed lawyers or their legal strategy and wishes to have time to adjust their plans
In addition, if a plaintiff loses their case, the court may file a judgment against them. Filing a nonsuit allows the plaintiff to avoid this.
How a Nonsuit Can Impact Your Debt Lawsuit Case
You may assume you’re “out of the woods” if a creditor has opted to file for nonsuit instead of waiting for the court to make a decision in your case. However, it’s critical to remember that a successful Motion for Nonsuit preserves the creditor’s right to refile a lawsuit against you.
The fact that a creditor has filed for nonsuit doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve given up on winning their case. It could mean they are simply taking time to restrategize.
None of this is meant to frighten you. If a creditor does file a nonsuit, it could also indicate that their case isn’t as strong as they would like you to believe. Even if they do refile a lawsuit later, their case might still be somewhat weak.
That’s not to say they have no chance of winning. If they decide to refile after already filing for a nonsuit, they may have reason to be confident.
The best way to navigate these situations is to enlist the help of a legal professional. With a lawyer representing you, you’ll have someone to explain how a nonsuit may impact your case.
Debt Legal Defense is a San Antonio law firm offering debt lawsuit defense services to clients throughout the region.