If the rules and laws of a court allow a party to bring a petition, and that petition is dismissed with an explanation but with no mention of "prejudice," can the petitioner refile what is substantively the same petition with the same court?

I.e., can one file a new petition requesting the same action even if the facts underlying the matter have not changed (but, perhaps, the petitioner learned enough from the original dismissal to file a more effective petition)?

Or must one always use the appeals process for the court if one wants "another shot" at what is substantively the same matter?

(An example I'm looking at right now is a PA 506(B)2 Petition. Naturally the Rules don't address this question, and at least here court officers never answer substantive questions regarding rules or process!)

1 Answer 1


There is a common law doctrine that litigation should be final. A plaintiff is obliged to state their best case and all of their case for the defendant to defend and it will be decided once and for all.

If a petition to a court is made and dismissed then unless it is specifically dismissed "without prejudice" then that is the end of the matter; the same facts cannot serve as the basis for another claim - even if the basis is changed. For example, a claim made for breech of contract cannot be reintroduced as a tort; the plaintiff has had their day in court, they lost, move along. If there was a basis in both contract and tort the plaintiff should have introduced these both at the same time.

Now, either or both parties can appeal to a higher court that the decision in the lower court was wrong, however, that is an argument primarily about the law used; not about the facts.

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