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Under CCP 414.10, anyone who is over 18 years old may serve a summons and complaint--except for a party.  Here, plaintiff's service of the summons and complaint on the defendant was insufficient to give the court jurisdiction over the defendant.  Hence, the ensuing default judgment agains the defendant was properly set aside under CCP 473(d) as void on its face. … Read More

Doubling down on LaSalle v. Vogel (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 127, this decision holds that plaintiff's counsel owes an ethical and legal obligation to notify the defendant's counsel (if known) of the defendant's failure to timely respond to the complaint and plaintiff's intention to seek a default.  Here, plaintiff not only didn't notify defendant's counsel, but also arranged to serve the… Read More

A defaulted defendant (or in this case, one against whom terminating discovery sanctions had been entered) may, nevertheless, move for a new trial on the ground that the court made an “error in law” in calculating damages.  Even a defaulting defendant may appeal the resulting default judgment on the grounds that the damages award (1) “is so disproportionate to the… Read More

Corso obtained a default judgment against Rejuvi in a district court in South Australia.  Corso filed a proof of claim in Rejuvi's bankruptcy proceeding.  Rejuvi appealed from a bankruptcy court order allowing Corso's claim based on the South Australia default judgment.  Held, the claim was properly allowed.  Under California's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgment Recognition Act (CCP 1713 et seq.), Rejuvi… Read More

Following David S. Karton, A Law Corp. v. Dougherty (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 600, this decision holds that when a defendant pays a default judgment entered against him before successfully moving to vacate the default judgment (and hence before filing an answer), Civ. Code 1717(b)(2) applies, making the defendant the prevailing party for purposes of a fee award if the plaintiff… Read More

After serving a defendant by publication, the plaintiff may obtain entry of the defendant's default if the defendant does not file an answer, a motion to transfer, a motion to quash service of summons, a motion to strike or a demurrer within the time for filing an answer.  (CCP 585(c).)  Here, within the time for answering, defendant filed a motion… Read More

Plaintiff obtained a default judgment awarding it the $100,000 he had lent defendant, plus a $100,000 "earn-out" fee, plus 10% interest on both of those sums.  Defendant moved to set the judgment aside under CCP 473(d) and appealed from denial of his motion.  Held, the judgment was in excess of jurisdiction in the sense that it was beyond the trial… Read More

A plaintiff alleging an accounting action must plead a specific dollar amount to support a default judgment awarding monetary relief.  The complaint can plead an estimated amount of damage and can err on the high side.  The decision does not resolve how the maximum default recovery is to be calculated if the complaint's prayer does not distinctly request award of… Read More

This decision reverses the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to set aside a default judgment and the underlying default under CCP 473.5 and for extrinsic mistake or fraud.  Plaintiff lent to defendant's CEO, who without authority pledged defendant's assets as collateral for the loan, which he invested in a Ghanaian scam.  Plaintiff filed suit against the CEO and defendant,… Read More

This decision reverses an order granting defendants equitable relief from a default and default judgment.  A court’s ability to grant relief under its inherent equitable power is narrower than its ability to grant relief under CCP 473(b)  Equitable relief from a default judgment may be granted only in exceptional circumstances, and the party moving for such relief must make a… Read More

While a default judgment may not award damages in an amount greater than that alleged in the complaint, it is not necessary to plead the amount of prejudgment interest, costs or attorney fees.  A default judgment which may otherwise properly award prejudgment interest, costs and attorney fees may do so even if the total judgment, including those items, exceeds the… Read More

A defendant against whom a default has properly been entered is not entitled to service of notice of hearing on entry of default judgment or to service of a copy of the evidence submitted in support of the default judgment.  Also, since the defaulted defendant has no right to participate in the prove-up hearing, it cannot show any prejudice from… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's motion to dismiss two of the consolidated cases for failure to bring them to trial within five years.  Even though plaintiffs could have taken these defendants' defaults since they hadn't answered, the court could reasonably conclude that these complex consolidated actions could not have been prosecuted to judgment… Read More

A default judgment was vacated as it exceeded the sum prayed for in the indemnity cross-complaint on which it was based, even though it incorporated by reference the complaint which asked for $10 million. Read More

When a plaintiff seeks a default judgment, the trial court must act as gatekeeper, disallowing recovery if the complaint fails to allege a viable cause of action.  Read More