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Setting Aside A Small Claims Dismissal

Learn what you can do if your small claims case has been dismissed, including how to ask the court to “set aside” (cancel or revoke) the dismissal.


When a small claims case is “dismissed,” the court terminates the case without a trial and prior to the case’s completion. A dismissal, in effect, denies the plaintiff’s claim to the money requested in the Small Claims Complaint (or a counterclaim), even though the merits of the case have never been heard by the court. A small claims case might be dismissed for a number of reasons, but usually it is because the plaintiff failed to comply with some court rule or order. For example, a small claims case could be dismissed if the plaintiff:

  • Fails to serve the Small Claims Complaint (or counterclaim) on the defendant within the required time period,
  • Misses a scheduled small claims hearing, or
  • Fails to attend a mandatory mediation.

To download a flowchart that shows how a small claims case moves through the court – and a couple of situations where a small claims case might be dismissed – click on one of the file names below:
Flowchart – Overview of the Small Claims Process  
Flowchart - Overview of Las Vegas Small Claims Process

Q&A – Dismissals

If my small claims case is dismissed, can I just file a new case and start over?

Whether you can re-file a case once it has been dismissed depends on whether the judge dismissed it “with prejudice” or “without prejudice.” “With prejudice” means that the plaintiff cannot re-file the case or bring another lawsuit on the same subject. “Without prejudice” means that plaintiff’s rights are not lost and the case can be re-filed. Typically, a dismissal is “without prejudice” unless the court says otherwise.

Another potential problem might be the statute of limitations that applies to your case. A “statute of limitations” is a law that restricts the time within which a lawsuit can be filed. If you are outside your statute of limitations period, you may not be able to file a new case. To learn more about statutes of limitation in Nevada, click to visit Nevada Statutes and review Chapter 11 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

Does the court refund my filing fee if my case is dismissed?

The court does not refund your filing fee if your case is dismissed. Additionally, if you re-file your case, you will have to pay a new filing fee.

If I disagree with the dismissal, how can I contest it?

If your small claims case has been dismissed, you can file a motion asking the court to “set aside” (cancel or revoke) the dismissal.

A Motion to Set Aside Dismissal is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:



Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing for information about filling out forms and filing documents in the justice court. For more information about the specific requirements for a small claims case in the Las Vegas Justice Court, click to visit the Las Vegas Justice Court Small Claims page.

What happens after I file a Motion to Set Aside Dismissal?

When you file your Motion to Set Aside Dismissal with the court, check with the court clerk to find out what the next step will be. In some small claims courts, a date and time for a hearing on your motion will be set. In other justice courts, the judge might decide your motion without a hearing. For court contact information or to look up your case to see whether a hearing has been set, click to visit Justice Courts and Look Up My Case.