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Marques v. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Marques sued the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Bank) seeking $100 billion on behalf of their principals who held $25 billion in fake bonds issued by the Bank.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal should be granted if the defendant cannot prove that he initially filed an answer or motion for summary judgment.

    Facts.

    Marques sued the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago seeking$100 billion on behalf of their principals who held $25 billion in fake bonds issued by the bank. The plaintiff’s sought voluntary dismissal when the bank’s lawyer did not take action. The bank’s lawyer filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss but was not converted to a motion for summary judgment until later. It has not been determined whether the plaintiff filed the voluntary dismissal first or the bank’s lawyer filed the 2(b)(6) motion to dismiss first. The district court denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal should be granted if the defendant cannot prove that he initially filed an answer or motion for summary judgment?

    Held.

    Yes. The district court is ordered to dismiss the suit without prejudice in accordance with FRCP 41(a)(1). Because the bank likely bears the burden of proving which motion was filed first, the judgment of the district court must be reversed.

    Discussion.

    A plaintiff has a right to file for a voluntary dismissal under FRCP 41(a)(1) as long as notice is filed prior to the defendant filing an answer or motion for summary judgment. After the defendant files an answer or a motion for summary judgment, voluntary dismissal without prejudice is no longer available.


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