Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

I recently received a notice in the mail from an attorney notice that a suit had been filed against me for extortion. I pulled the file and the file states I was served substitute service but never was. I live alone. The file indicates that a default judgment was entered for $0. the suit appears to be frivolous.

is it best for me to ignore the judgment since it is for $0? OR can this still affect my credit rating?

Asked on 12/15/11, 11:20 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

It is never a good idea to simply ignore a judgment. There may have been a request for entry of default filed and the default may have been entered. All that means is that the plaintiff has asked the court to cut-off your right to appear in the action. Many times plaintiff's attorneys request that a default be entered without asking for a judgment then set what is known as a "prove-up" hearing where the lawyer goes before the judge and proves the allegations of the complaint. Alternatively, the lawyer/plaintiff may prove the plaintiff's case by declarations and documentary evidence and ask the court for a monetary judgment, which the court will enter for the amount requested by the plaintiff.

You should IMMEDIATELY make an appointment to see an attorney in your area do discuss this matter and advise you about your situation and your rights at this point.

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Answered on 12/15/11, 11:33 am

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Judgements are not entered for $0. You have likely misunderstood something. Ignore the judgment at your peril. You need to immediately file a motion to set aside the default judgment, there are short time limits to do so. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 12/15/11, 11:54 am
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

If the file says judgment was entered for $0, then either the file is wrong or the judgment hasn't actually been entered yet.

Before a plaintiff can obtain a default judgment, she must usually obtain a default. (In some instances these two steps can be combined into one.) It's possible that a default has been entered against you but that no default judgment has been entered yet. That might explain the $0 entry.

You can bring a motion for relief from the default and/or the default judgment, but there are time limits you will have to meet. You will only get one shot at this, so you should hire a lawyer to make sure it is done right. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss your situation further.

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Answered on 12/15/11, 12:22 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

I've never seen a judgment for $0. If the judgment was for nothing, it would state that the plaintiff take nothing on their case, but would actually be a judgment in your favor. I strongly suggest you speak to an attorney, and have the matter reviewed thoroughly, to determine whether you need to file a motion to vacate/ set aside your default and any resulting default judgment.

You need to do this as soon as possible, because there are strict deadlines that must be met, or otherwise the court may deny your motion and enter a default judgment against you.

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Answered on 12/16/11, 9:03 am

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