Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 14 >> New Years Day to Nordau >> Nonsuit

Nonsuit

action, plaintiff and court

NONSUIT. The termination of an action by entry of judgment against the plaintiff upon his failure to appear or prosecute the action, or because of his inability to sustain his ease al the trial, in of which the action is ended without a determination of the merits. Under the early system of common-law practice nonsuit was entered only on motion of the defendant when the plaintiff was in default in prosecuting his action, and if the latter wished to end the suit, lie was obliged to resort to the procedure known as none proscqtri or relraxil. However, in modern commondaw procedure, a plaintiff is sometimes allowed to end his action by nonsuit, in the discretion of the court, and usually upon payment of costs. Under the various codes of procedure at the present time, the same result is effected by a discontinuance. Where the plaintiff fails to introduce sullieient evidence to make out a prima facie ease, in many jurisdictions a nonsuit may be ordered by the court before the defendant. has introduced any testimony whatever. But where the plaintiff does make out a prima facie case, even though the defendant's evidence appears to the court to disprove conclusively the truth of the testi mony introduced by the plaintiff. the court cannot

allow a nonsuit, against the objection of the plaintiff, as the latter is entitled to have the facts of his ease determined by a jury.

A nonsu it differs from a "dismissal" of the com plaint or declaration, only in that the latter is a broader term and may involve a determination of the merits of the action. A direction of ver dict is also distinguishable from a nonsuit be cause it involves the merits of the controversy. It is, therefore, important whether an action is terminated by dismissal on the merits, verdict, or direction of verdict, in which cases the party against whom the court decides must appeal if he thinks the judgment erroneous; or whether a nonsnit is entered, as in the latter case the plaintiff can immediately commence a new action on the same state of facts. See ACTION ; JUDG MENT ; APPEAL; NOLLE PROSEQUI ; VEnmer. Con sult the authorities referred to under PRACTICE.