Statement of damages and default judgment.

Asked about 2 years ago - San Diego, CA

I am considering requesting a default judgment but am concerned whether I have sufficiently stated damages sought in my complaint. I did attach a notice of punitive damages sought and there are references to certain amounts in the body of the complaint but not in the prayer for relief. There are also other damages which would have been difficult to quantify except by a trier of fact, including specific amounts for different statutory damages, and being a landlord-tenant case, different amounts for retroactive rent abatement, violation of covenant of quiet enjoyment, etc.. Is this partial description of damages sufficient for seeking entry of default or did my complaint need a very specific and itemized statement of damages? The notice of punitive damages sought is high and could included all the other damages but would that be acceptable if the other types of damages aren't all specifically defined?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . A complaint does not need to be specific in the damages sought.

    A statement of damages is not necessary unless the case is for wrongful death or personal injury.

    You need to prove up the actual amount of your damages in your CCP 585 declaration

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
  2. Mark Harrison Wagner

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . i slightly disagree on this confusin issue. There is much debate on these topics. When you are getting a default, you can only get as much as in the complaint and the statement of damages. A recent Court of Appeals ruling claimed it is a due process issue. Are you happy with the amount of damages you put in the complaint and the statement of damages? Of course, after, you will have to prove to the Court an entitlement to the damages claimed.

    For more information, contact me at or (310) 857-5293. You can also view my website at... more

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