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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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