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D&D 5E Dragonlance Lawsuit Dismissed Without Prejudice

The recent lawsuit brought against D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast by Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

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When a lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the plaintiff cannot bring the issue back to court. When -- as in this case -- it is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff can try again.

In this case it was voluntarily dismissed by Weis & Hickman. We can only guess why; perhaps a settlement occurred? In any case, Margaret Weis tweeted, thanking people for their support, and hinting at exciting news to come.

"Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff Margaret Weis, LLC and Tracy Hickman hereby gives notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed as to Wizards of the Coast LLC, without prejudice. Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC has not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, no proceedings or discovery have been undertaken as to these claims, and this action is not subject to any federal statute which would preclude the dismissal of this action under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i)."


 

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I wish both sides can agree a deal and together "bury the hatchet" (to make peace).

The reconciliation is the best option. WotC has a lot to win if they can use MW&TH as hooks to promote the revival of the IP.

My suggestion? MW&TH creating a new world with total creative freedom, something like a spiritual succesor. If this project works, then WotC buys it as a new D&D world.

Dragonlance could be again one of the most important fantasy franchises in the entertaiment industry. The cartoon movie failed, but it still deserves a second opportunity in the jump to the screen adaptation.
 

Dausuul

Legend
So Margaret voluntarily withdrew the case? Am I reading the linked attachment correctly? If so sounds like they came to an agreement with WOTC.
It sure sounds like a settlement was reached. I'm not a lawyer, and it's possible the language means something else in legalese than it does in English, but I can't imagine why Weis would be tweeting about "exciting news" if the news was "the judge threw our case out of court."
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It sure sounds like a settlement was reached. I'm not a lawyer, and it's possible the language means something else in legalese than it does in English, but I can't imagine why Weis would be tweeting about "exciting news" if the news was "the judge threw our case out of court."
It says “voluntarily dismissed”. That’s not thrown out of court.
 

Shardstone

Hero
Publisher
I wish both sides can agree a deal and together "bury the hatchet" (to make peace).

The reconciliation is the best option. WotC has a lot to win if they can use MW&TH as hooks to promote the revival of the IP.

My suggestion? MW&TH creating a new world with total creative freedom, something like a spiritual succesor. If this project works, then WotC buys it as a new D&D world.

Dragonlance could be again one of the most important fantasy franchises in the entertaiment industry. The cartoon movie failed, but it still deserves a second opportunity in the jump to the screen adaptation.
"If this project works."

Why would they work and labor on creating a new world in the hopes of it being bought and sold as a D&D world? Without a guarantee, that's a lot of work and effort and labor for potentially nothing.
 






Abstruse

Legend
Quick explanation of what's going on. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I just read and study a lot of lawsuits like this one.

The only thing we know for sure is that Margaret Wies and Tracy Hickman both decided to withdraw their lawsuit but reserve the right to file it again in the future. Wizards of the Coast filed no documents in this case with the court, and no discovery took place on either side (meaning nobody entered any evidence into the court).

That is the beginning and end of what we know and anything beyond that is speculation. Including everything else I'm about to write.

This sort of filing for dismissal without prejudice typically happens in two cases. The first (and based on the reactions from both Weis and Hickman on social media, most likely in this situation) is when a settlement has been reached. The plaintiff withdraws their lawsuit without prejudice in order to protect the settlement agreement. If either side violates the terms of the settlement, they can take it back to court if necessary. The second is when the plaintiff believes they're unlikely to win the court case (or get the settlement they want) and seeks to withdraw in order to either avoid paying legal fees for a losing battle or to re-file the lawsuit at a later date when they have a stronger case.

If it is a settlement (which again, we don't know for sure but is the most likely situation), odds are we won't know what that settlement is. Typically, settlements are sealed and both sides are bound by an NDA to not discuss the terms of the settlement. So we might see some of the results of the settlement - for example, if Wizards of the Coast approves publication of the new Dragonlance books, we'll see announcements of those books' releases - but we won't know what the exact terms of that settlement were - if Weis and Hickman agreed to the more extensive changes WotC apparently wanted from the books based on the original legal filing or not, if they agreed to different a different editor at WotC, etc.
 

toucanbuzz

Legend
The title of the post, without context, could create the impression there was something wrong with the suit and it got tossed as a result.

Sounds like they've reached a mediation agreement already, that WOTC has probably already fulfilled its end of whatever agreement they reached (contingent on Weis doing her bit), and in return Weis fulfilled her end of the bargain by dismissing the suit. Otherwise, Weis would have no incentive to dismiss her suit, nor would she likely be tweeting about the suit (lawyers normally caution their clients not to discuss the merits of their case).
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I will speculate that the possibility of going to Court and paying money persuaded WotC that there was no inexpensive way to make the issue disappear.
So they agreed to (1) move forward with the project or (2) pay W&H to be finished. Based on Margaret's post, WotC probably overruled the roadblocking decision and will resume work on this DragonLance product.
 




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