Can a motion be filled for a default judgment, if a plaintiff is not offering a challenge to a claim?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a motion be filled for a default judgment, if a plaintiff is not offering a challenge to a claim?

Filed a default judgment after plaintiff failed to reply to
original small claim. He had 10 days to reply and finally did.
In his answer, he admitted fault to what was described in
the small claims, but the courts scheduled a hearing 2
months from the date I received the letter. The defendant
will most likely not appear, can I file a motion for a default
judgment since there is no challenge by the defendant.

Asked on February 26, 2018 under Business Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, a default judgment is only for when there is no appearance or no answer: since he did answer, default is not available. Depending on your state's court rules, it may be possible to file a motion for summary judgment, which is a motion requesting that the court find for you because the uncontroverted written evidence--that is, the answer admitting fault--shows that you should win without the need for a hearing. However, in some states (e.g. my own--New Jersey), you cannot file motions in small claims court but must go to the hearing/trial date and deal with the matter in court. Check your state's rules (or call the judge's law clerk) to see if a motion for summary judgment is an option in your case, but if not, you'll need to wait for the hearing date.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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