Citation. 2 F.3d 544 (1993)
Plaintiff petitioned the court for exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic. Defendant argued that the petition was based on factual misrepresentation.
Under Rule 41(a)(1), a plaintiff has an unconditional right to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit so long as notice of dismissal comes before the adverse party files an answer or a motion for summary judgment.
Marex Titanic, Inc. (Plaintiff) brought an action in federal court requesting ownership and salvage rights to the RMS Titanic. Plaintiff was granted a warrant of arrest, which it published thirty-two days late. Titanic Ventures (Defendant) argued that Plaintiff obtained the warrant through factual misrepresentation and moved for a preliminary injunction against Plaintiff salvaging the ship.
Was the denial of Plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal proper?
No, the trial court did not have the authority to deny Plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal.
The Court looked to the plain meaning of Rule 41(a)(1) to determine that the trial court did not have the authority to allow Defendant to intervene or to deny Plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal. At the time of the motion, Defendant had not filed an answer or a motion for summary judgment.