I just received a Request for Entry of Default. How do I respond to prevent the default?
4 Answers from Attorneys
I assume you are the defendant, or one of them, in a civil lawsuit. If you were previously served with the summons and complaint in the lawsuit, at least 30 days ago for anything but an unlawful detainer, you are subject to having your default taken by the plaintiff. Once the Request for Entry of Default (RFED) arrives at your place, it's very likely that it is being delivered to the Court at the same time, and unless it contains an error, the judge (or clerk) will promptly sign it and enter your default.
I mention "contains an error" because I recently took on a case where my client had received an RFED before contacting me, and upon checking the Court's records, I discovered that it had been returned to the plaintiff's attorney because he forgot to sign it. We were able to get an answer on file before he corrected his omission.
If the Court has already entered your default by the time you show up with your answer ready to file, it'll be rejected. At that point, your alternatives are (1) to resign yourself to the eventual entry of a default judgment against you along the lines of the relief requested in the complaint, or (2) applying for relief from default per Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subsection (b). You'd need an excuse of some sort as to why you defaulted, but most judges grant relief from default fairly readily, in the interest of justice.
Other code sections of importance are Code of Civil Procedure section 585 regarding default judgments, and California Rules of Court Rule 3.1800. See a lawyer immediately.
You should consult a lawyer immediately to move to set aside the default. Do not wait. Time is of the essence. If you fail to act timely a judgment can be entered against you and you may lose the opportunity to defend yourself.
Properly and immediately.
You must file a Motion to set aside and avoid a default and allow you to file your Answer or other appropriate pleadings. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively in this, then hire an attorney who does. f serious about hiring counsel to help in this, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help.
You have to have an answer, or special motion pending and on file, before the request for entry of default is entered. If your default is entered, you need to get an attorney as soon as possible if you want to have any chance at setting aside the default.