A case has been filed in a jurisdiction which has no legal authority over me What would happen if I let it go to default judgment ? Would the default judgment be effective and legally binding? Could plaintiff collect?
4 Answers from Attorneys
It's valid and binding on you until you show that it is not. You have the responsibility of finding an attorney and properly challenging it.
Mr. Roach is correct. Legal proceedings are presumed valid until challenged, unless they are so patently invalid that the court rejects them without filing or processing them. Unlike European "civil law" procedure, the court does not undertake to inquire into and evaluate the case itself. It only rules on the case presented by both sides. If one side does not participate the court will rule in the other side's favor and that judgment will be binding until challenged. You should also be aware that jurisdiction is a lot trickier than you may think. It trips up many a first-year law student in Civil Procedure class. For example many states and even nations have "long arm" statutes that confer valid and legally binding jurisdiction well beyond their borders, and those statutes are usually acknowledged and enforced by all other states and many countries. So just because you think a jurisdiction has no authority over you doesn't mean that is correct.
I agree with Mr. Roach and Mr. McCormick. But since you haven't said which jurisdiction the case was filed in, we can't be more specific about what will happen or what you can or should do about it.
You should pay particular heed to Mr. McCormick's warning that the other state/country's court may have jurisdiction over you even though you believe it does not. You haven't explained why you believe this, so we can't say whether you're right. But this is a relatively complex area of the law. Laypeople who think they are not subject to a court's jurisdiction are often wrong.
Perhaps unnecessary to join the chorus, but the previous answers are sound. Not only is there some possibility that you are wrong about this court's jurisdiction, one must proactively challenge the court's jurisdiction. The only circumstance in which this might not be the case is if the court's lack of jurisdiction over you, personally, is because you haven't been served with process. Even then there would be some risk that the plaintiff would, perhaps in ignorance of the failure of service, file a proof of service and the proceeding would move forward. Don't risk a default judgment. Get a lawyer who practices in the jurisdiction where the suit is on file and make the necessary defense, possibly by answer, perhaps by demurrer.
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