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A dismissal of a case "non pros" (for failure to prosecute) can be set aside.
Here is the Penn Statute: http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/231/chapter200/s237.3.html
While certainly not exhaustive, here is a short discussion of how one case where the court entered a judgment non pros was later set aside: http://www.torttalk.com/2011/06/it-is-still-possible-to-have-case.html
Once the time to make the motion to set aside has passed, the plaintiff can no longer file a new case.
While the ruling has the same "res judicata" effect of a "dismissal with prejudice," the court does not use that language, because this is a different procedure and a different form of resolving the matter.
- This is a "Judgment of non pros" vs an "Entry of dismissal with or without prejudice" (so in this case the court is actually entering a judgment, a final resolution).
The explanatory notes found accompanying the statute (above) have some helpful guidance on the issue, but a failure to prosecute in one action precludes the defendant from filing a second case against the same defendant on the same facts.
(Again, I want to be precise with the language here - it has a precluding effect between the two parties to the action - the plaintiff cannot sue the defendant on the same facts a second time ("res judicata") but the ruling is a procedural one it is not made on its merits, so it cannot be used in other proceedings (for example administrative matters, or introduced as evidence in future civil suits to show fault or lack of liability, the only thing it shows is that the plaintiff didn't prosecute the claim).