If a person is sued, what would happen if they do not show up to court?

Person borrowed money but did not return it. I also would like to add that the person is not currently residing in the US, but is being sued from CA.

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

These are two separate questions:

First: if a party is properly sued (Summons and Complaint state a cause of action or reason that is recognized for suit) and properly served with the Summons and Complaint and they fail to "Answer" within the time prescribed by law, then a "default" is taken against them.  If the suit is for a sum certain and the documentation exists to evidence the debt, sometimes a judgement will be entered.  If testimony as to the debt is needed an "inquest" will be taken and then a judgement rendered after inquest. This is a general outline.

Second: a person needs to be properly sued in order to obtain a judgement.  That means that they need to receive proper "Notice" of the lawsuit commenced against them. If they do not receive the notice then the court does not obtain "jurisdiction" over them and the Judge can not render a judgement in your favor. Each state has laws that pertain to service of the Summons and Complaint. If your person resides outside the US you have concerns as to proper service already. Seek legal help in your area. Good luck.

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