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A Default Judgment does not have to be the End of the Road

Posted by Catherine Lockhart | Jul 29, 2022

Have you been informed a default judgment has been entered in your case? Let us help! A default may be entered in a small claims case when a defendant has been served but fails to appear at the scheduled pretrial conference. In a county or circuit case, a default may be entered when a defendant fails to file a timely answer in response to the plaintiff's complaint. There are times when an individual may become aware a lawsuit has been filed against them after a default has been entered in their case. While this news will likely cause a sense of panic, it can often be remedied.

If you have been notified a default has been entered against you, it's not time to throw up your hands just yet! Florida Courts can be liberal in setting aside default judgments, preferring to resolve a case on its merits. On motion, the court may set aside or vacate a default judgment, if the motion has a good basis for the default and is made within a reasonable period of time, not more than a year after the judgment was entered. Once the default is set aside, the parties may then begin to negotiate a settlement or proceed to trial on the merits. Sometimes, a hearing on a motion to set aside or vacate a default judgment is not necessary. Our attorneys, in the process of negotiations, can often reach an agreement with the opposing firm to set aside the default judgment. When this is done, an agreed order is then submitted to the court, without the necessity of a hearing.

Holland Law has been very successful in setting aside default judgments on behalf of our clients. It is important to speak to an attorney about why exactly you missed your deadline to either appear in court or file an answer. Defaults are most often set aside when this misstep was the result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Such as a mis-calendared date, or technological issues. Sometimes, when an individual is facing multiple cases with multiple court dates or filing dates, these events may be confused, resulting in a missed deadline. Alternatively, whether service was sufficient can also be challenged, possibly leading to the default being set aside. For example, if you realize a stranger was served at one of your previous residences, service may be quashed and the default set aside.

If you have been notified that a default has been entered in your case, or you realize you've missed a deadline or court date, please contact us today! While it is certainly an unfortunate hiccup, there is still much that can be done to set aside the default. Once the default is vacated or set aside, our attorneys will work towards reaching an outcome favorable to you. We know each courtroom is different and each case is unique. We have attorneys throughout the state that can assist you today, from Miami to the panhandle, from Duval to Orlando, from Leon to Hillsborough, and all points between. Call Holland Law at (941) 744-5450 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.

About the Author

Catherine Lockhart

Catherine Lockhart is originally from Greenville, South Carolina.  In 2004 she moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida.  Catherine graduated magna cum laude with honors from the Florida State University with a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies.  She then attended the Florida State Universi...

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