When a complaint has been properly served, a Defendant will have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint, either through the filing of a motion, or a responsive pleading, such as an answer. But what happens when the Defendant fails to respond to the complaint at all? You are a paralegal working for Mr. Dewey Cheatham, Esq., a partner at Cheatham & Fare, One First St, Greenacre, in your home state. The firm has a client, Silence DoGood, who has filed a complaint for negligence stemming from an auto accident, against Nick Slick.
Mr. Cheatham has requested you keep an eye on the Court docket, and determine if a Motion for Default Judgment can be filed in this matter. He would like a short Memo, explaining the process for obtaining a default judgment, as well as the method of calculating the length of time before a default can be obtained, based on your state’s rules of civil procedure. He would also like a draft of a Motion for Default Judgment and proposed Order for Default Judgment to accompany the memo.
Mr. Cheatham is a stickler for spelling, grammar, and properly drafted documents. The drafted documents you provide him should only require his signature, but be otherwise ready to file with the court to request a default judgment. He provided you with a template the law firm uses in these types of cases:
The complaint was filed around September 1, 2015. In the complaint, Ms. DoGood requested $50,000 in damages for emotional distress, anxiety, and compensation, after Nick Slick negligently damaged a box of letters Ms. DoGood had been keeping. He was supposed to restore the letters, which were family heirlooms, but ended up burning the letters beyond repair. The case has been pending in Greenacre district court. The Greenacre court issued a summons on September 3, 2015, by certified mail. It was returned having been claimed on October 1, 2015. No answer or other document has been filed by Nick Slick.
Mr. Cheatham has advised you that the court sets cases like this for a hearing on damages 21 days after the motion is filed. Therefore, you should enter the potential hearing date in the Default Judgment Entry. Pay careful attention to weekend dates and holidays in calculating the hearing’s date. (You should assume the motion is filed the on february 26th).