Default Judgments

August 11, 2023


Default judgments are not considered as “strong” as regular (contested in court) judgments. That is one reason there are so many default judgments.

Our opinion is that scammers love default judgments for reasons such as:   No discovery is allowed, they are harder to enforce across state lines, they are easier to vacate, and default judgments save the debtor both money and time. Debtors know that 90% of judgments are never enforced. Debtors often take advantage of the “legal loopholes” of a default judgment.

With a default judgment – the Proof Of Service is vitally important.

The best Proof Of Service is when a Sheriff or a Registered Process Server personally serves the debtor – or serves the correct person at a company. With valid personal service, “Motion to Vacate” attempts rarely succeed. All other kinds of service – increase the chances of the debtor in successfully persuading the court to set aside the judgment with a “Motion to Vacate”.

With a default judgment – the debtor did not care about the judgment – and likely will not care until a judgment enforcer grabs their money. When a judgment enforcer grabs their money – they sometimes care very much.

If the Proof Of Service was not good – the debtor might ask the court – and has a small chance – to vacate (set aside) the judgment. If the court grants the debtor’s request – the judgment vanishes – and you have to sue them again to get another judgment. It may be very important to have post-judgment things personally served on the debtors in default judgment situations to help prevent them later vacating the judgment.

Also, when a debtor moves out of California – default judgments can be “harder to domesticate” in some states (E.G., Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York). In New York, a new lawsuit is required to domesticate a default judgment there. Some other countries also require an expensive new trial to domesticate a default judgment. It does not matter how good the proof of service is, in NY, you must file a new lawsuit to domesticate a default state judgment in NY.

See our Default court judgments and our When Defaults Judgments Get Vacated article.

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