A default judgment is a ruling granted by a court or judge. Default judgments arise in circumstances whereby one party to a suit has failed to perform a court-ordered action, and subsequently that failure has not only prevented the issue from being presented before the court but also results in the court settling the legal dispute in favor of the compliant party. For example, when a defendant is summoned to appear before the court in a case brought by a plaintiff, but fails to respond to the court's legal order, the judge can rule for default judgment and thereby decide the case in the plaintiff's favor. The defendant, though not present before the court, is obligated to abide by the court's ruling for default judgment and subject to any and all punishment requested by the court.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
At trial, a decision awarded to the plaintiff when a defendant fails to contest the case or comply with required procedural steps. For instance, the defendant may fail to respond to the plaintiff's complaint within the required time, or simply neglect to show up in court. To appeal a default judgment, a defendant must first file a motion in the court that issued it, asking to have the default vacated (set aside).
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:14 pm