Dictionary of Law

default judgment :: legal definition

Default judgment - n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint in the time set by law (commonly 20 or 30 days), then the plaintiff (suer) can request that the default (failure) be entered into the court record by the clerk, which gives the plaintiff the right to get a default judgment. If the complaint was for a specific amount of money owed on a note, other money due, or a specific contract price (or if the amount due is easy to calculate) then the clerk of the court can enter a default judgment. If proof of damages or other relief is necessary, a hearing will be held in which the judge determines terms of the default judgment. In either case the defendant cannot speak for himself/herself. A defendant who fails to file an answer or other legal response when it is due can request that the default be set aside, but must show a legitimate excuse and a good defense to the lawsuit.

See also: complaint default summons and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

admission to bail :: n. an order of a court in a criminal case allowing ... lient. See also: bail bail bondsman
advisory opinion :: n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon th ... o: actual controversy friendly suit
answer :: n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant ... emurrer general denial verification
attachment :: n. the seizing of money or property prior to getti ... bond. See also: writ of attachment
bail :: 1) n. the money or bond put up to secure the relea ... bond bail bondsman own recognizance
bill of particulars :: n. a written itemization of claims which a defenda ... the factual bases for the charges.
booby trap :: n. a device set up to be triggered to harm or kill ... protect one's property is a crime.
burden of proof :: n. the requirement that the plaintiff (the party b ... ence prima facie weight of evidence
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
challenge :: n. the right of each attorney in a jury trial to r ... ess. See also: peremptory challenge
clean hands doctrine :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
clerk :: n. 1) an official or employee who handles the busi ... stocking shelves, or counter sales.
common counts :: n. claims for debt alleged in a lawsuit (included ... so: cause of action complaint count
complainant :: n. a person or entity who begins a lawsuit by fili ... lso: complaint petitioner plaintiff
complaint :: n. the first document filed with the court (actual ... g prayer service of process summons
counterclaim :: n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a pl ... d. See also: answer cross-complaint
court :: n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor o ... cost and wait of full court trials.
cross-complaint :: n. after a complaint has been filed against a defe ... g prayer service of process summons
default :: 1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complain ... default judgment notice of default
defense attorney :: n. 1) the attorney representing the defendant in a ... lso: defendant plaintiff's attorney
demand :: 1) v. to claim as a need, requirement or entitleme ... pay is made. See also: demand note
deposition :: n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witn ... See also: deponent depose discovery
examination :: n. 1) the questioning of a witness by an attorney. ... irect examination testimony witness
excessive bail :: n. an amount of bail ordered posted by an accused ... ppeal for reduction. See also: bail
excusable neglect :: n. a legitimate excuse for the failure of a party ... See also: default default judgment
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
file :: 1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a wri ... rrespondence and notes on the case.
foreclosure :: n. the system by which a party who has loaned mone ... ced sale mortgage notice of default
forum non conveniens :: (for-uhm nahn cahn-vee-nee-ehns) n. Latin for a fo ... most convenient location for trial.
garnish :: v. to obtain a court order directing a party holdi ... ed. See also: garnishee garnishment
general denial :: n. a statement in an answer to a lawsuit or claim ... anguage. See also: answer complaint
information :: n. an accusation or criminal charge brought by the ... Jury indictment preliminary hearing
interrogatories :: n. a set of written questions to a party to a laws ... ing. See also: deposition discovery
joint and several :: adj. referring to a debt or a judgment for neglige ... ution contributory negligence joint
jump bail :: v. to fail to appear for a court appearance after ... also: bail bail bond bail bondsman
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
juvenile court :: n. a special court or department of a trial court ... See also: court juvenile delinquent
kangaroo court :: n. 1) a mock court set up without legal basis, suc ... See also: star chamber proceedings
last clear chance :: n. a rule of law in determining responsibility for ... contributory negligence negligence
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
motion for dismissal :: (non-suit) n. application by a defendant in a laws ... otion for nonsuit. See also: motion
nominal party :: n. a defendant or a plaintiff included in a lawsui ... ed. See also: necessary party party
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
officer of the court :: n. any person who has an obligation to promote jus ... also: attorney bailiff clerk judge
paid into court :: adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk o ... differences. See also: interpleader
partnership :: n. a business enterprise entered into for profit w ... partnership partner silent partner
party :: n. 1) one of the participants in a lawsuit or othe ... y real party in interest respondent
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
plaintiff :: n. the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a c ... lso: complaint defendant petitioner
plea :: n. 1) in criminal law, the response by an accused ... raignment plead preliminary hearing
pleading :: n. 1) every legal document filed in a lawsuit, pet ... nswer complaint demurrer plea plead
prayer :: n. the specific request for judgment, relief and/o ... ee also: complaint default judgment
preliminary hearing :: n. in criminal law, a hearing to determine if a pe ... nment charge Grand Jury information
procedure :: n. the methods and mechanics of the legal process. ... cases are tried and judgments made.
process :: n. in law, the legal means by which a person is re ... service of process subpena summons
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
proof :: n. confirmation of a fact by evidence. In a trial, ... doubt preponderance of the evidence
proximate cause :: n. a happening which results in an event, particul ... also: intervening cause negligence
recoupment :: n. the right of a defendant in a lawsuit to demand ... ter, including outside the lawsuit.
remittitur :: n. 1) a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded ... party on appeal). See also: remand
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
service of process :: n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such ... by publication substituted service
set aside :: v. to annul or negate a court order or judgment by ... "set aside" the original dismissal.
setoff :: (offset) n. a claim by a defendant in a lawsuit th ... ee also: affirmative defense offset
shortening time :: n. an order of the court in response to the motion ... e notice is served within 24 hours.
speaking demurrer :: n. an attempt to introduce evidence during a heari ... the operation." See also: demurrer
specific performance :: n. the right of a party to a contract to demand th ... artwork. See also: contract prayer
statutory offer of settlement :: n. a written offer of a specific sum of money made ... ly awarded to the prevailing party.
subpena duces tecum :: : (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-ta ... ng a court order. See also: witness
summons :: n. a document issued by the court at the time a la ... use service service of process writ
unclean hands :: n. a legal doctrine which is a defense to a compla ... ough. See also: affirmative defense
venue :: n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for t ... ion. See also: forum non conveniens

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d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
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death row :: n. nickname for that portion of a prison in which ... o: capital punishment death penalty
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