The 41(b) Dismissal

April 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

When the other side rests in a contested bench trial, that’s the time to consider whether you should make a motion to dismiss pursuant to MRCP 41(b).

In the recent case of Pittman v. Pittman, handed down March 24, 2015, the COA, by Judge James, spelled out just what it takes for the chancellor to grant such a motion:

¶10. A motion for an involuntary dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(b) should be granted if the chancellor, “after viewing the evidence fairly, . . . would find for the defendant.” Amos ex rel. Amos v. Jackson Pub. Sch. Dist., 139 So. 3d 120, 123 (¶7) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014). A chancellor “must deny a motion to dismiss only if the [chancellor] would be obliged to find for the plaintiff if the plaintiff’s evidence were all the evidence offered in the case.” Id. When reviewing a Rule 41(b) dismissal, this Court “will not overturn the decision of a chancellor if his findings are supported by substantial evidence unless he abused his discretion, was manifestly wrong, or applied an erroneous legal standard.” Jones v. Jones, 101 So. 3d 731, 732 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012).

That’s about as succinct a statement of the standard to be applied that you will find. You might want to file that away for future use.

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