Default Judgment

Simply put, a default judgment is a judgment against defendant who has failed to respond to plaintiff’s action or to appear at the trial or hearing. In other words, a default judgment is a decision that is entered against you when you are sued, but you do not respond to the lawsuit. 

So consider this, if you get served with a Summons and Complaint, you have just been sued! Even if you think that the lawsuit is ridiculous and a total waste of you time, do not ignore it. If you do nothing, meaning, you do not file an answer or appear in court (whichever the Summons tells you to do), you will lose by default and a default judgment will be entered against you.       

Once a default judgment is entered against you, you will likely then receive the next set of court papers.  For example, a Warrant of Removal in an eviction action or perhaps an Information Subpoena in the case of a debt collection action.  Oops. Now you realize that the lawsuit was not a joke and you should have taken it seriously. Now there may be consequences to your lack of action.

Unfortunately, unless you have a very good reason for not answering the Complaint or not showing up in Court on the date set in the Summons, or you can find a defect in the proceedings, you may have no way of getting the default judgment taken off and the case reopened – so you can now fight it.  Even if the judgment was unjust, now it may be too late to plead your case or to defend yourself. 

Your decision to ignore the suit because you felt the claims were worthless is not a recognized valid reason to fail to respond to the action. So unless it is fine with you to have a default judgment entered against you, which means you lose automatically, you should never ignore a Summons and Complaint! 

 

 

 

About teperlaw

I am an attorney practicing family law, immigration and wills and estate planning. You can find out more about me and my firm by visiting my website at: www.teperlaw.com 106 W. Franklin Ave. Pennington, NJ 08534 (609) 737-3030
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