A court can order a default judgment in a lawsuit when the defendant, or the party being sued fails to respond to the lawsuit within the appropriate timeframe and the case meets other specific requirements. The default judgment process allows the plaintiff, or the person who filed the lawsuit, has the ability to get a judgment for significant damages against the other party without going to the time and expense of at trial. As a result, California law requires strict compliance with a number of substantial requirements in order for the court to award a default judgment. These requirements help ensure that the defendant has due process before the court issues a default judgment.
The first requirement is that you properly serve the defendant with the summons and complaint that form the basis of the lawsuit. In most cases, you must have the defendant personally served. If personal service is not possible, then the court may permit service by publication, which involves publishing notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper. After service, the defendant typically has 30 days to answer or otherwise respond to the lawsuit. However, the court may grant the defendant extensions of time within which to answer the lawsuit.
Next, you must serve the defendant with a statement of damages, which gives the defendant notice of amount of damages that you are seeking. The statement of damages generally must be served on the defendant in the same manner as the summons and complaint was served. Once you have fulfilled all of these requirements, you can seek a default judgment. However, as a practical matter, filing a motion for a default judgment may not be the most strategic step to take. This is why you need to consult an attorney for advice before attempting to seek a default judgment on your own.
Contacting a knowledgeable California business attorney can be essential to choosing and operating a successful business, including handling any litigation that may affect your business. Call Heit Law Group, P.C., at 855-231-9868 today, and learn what we can do to help you through the complex process of managing all areas of a successful business.