Default judgment is a binding judgment granted by the court that is a result of one party’s failure to take action in the case. The most common reasons for granting default judgment are when a party fails to respond to a lawsuit or fails to show up in court.
Recently, in Limestone County, in Beck v. Beck, the Alabama Supreme Court addressed whether a default judgment should be set aside. Christina Beck (the mother) had a default judgment entered against her and in favor of Jason Beck (the father) as father and next friend of Eli Cameron Beck, a deceased minor. Christina Beck appealed, arguing that the default judgment was too early and that she had more time to answer the complaint before the time limit expired.
The Court determined that the default judgment should be set aside. The Court looked at the record of the trial court and the agreement between both parties. The father agreed that the default judgment should be set aside. Furthermore, if the default judgment is premature, then it must be reversed on appeal.
The main takeaway from this case is twofold: First, if a default judgment was entered two early, it will be reversed on appeal. Second, if the parties agree that the default judgment should be set aside, that will also aid the Court in determining that the judgment should be reversed. There are many reasons why judges can choose to set aside default judgments, in addition to the ones found in Beck, such as a party’s own mistake, surprise, or neglect. A default judgment may also be set aside if the other party obtained this default judgment through fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct.
It is important to seek an experienced attorney who understands the realities of Alabama business civil law. If you need a civil lawyer, contact INGRAM LAW LLC at (205) 335-2640 for help with your case.