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What would be a reason for the judge to deny my motion to vacate default judgment?

Los Angeles, CA |

I argued in the motion that the service was improper, and that the default was taken against me through both my surprise and excusable neglect, and there is enough evidence in the motion to prove that the medical bill was unfair and was disputed from the very start. I filed motion to set aside default by the clerk, answer and counterclaim, and motion to vacate court judgment. What else should I do to make my case stronger when I go before the judge, considering the fact that none of the said documents I have timely filed was seen by the judge due to the pending fee waiver, and the default clerk failed to tell me my documents would not be routed to the assigned judge's chambers until the fee waiver hearing. The dept. supervisor was not able to clarify filing procedure with fee waiver.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    I would have to review the case file, its history and the motions to give you a more exact answer. Why would a judge deny your motion? There are many reasons and I'm not going guess: a few for instances are lack of evidence, improper presentation, didn't carry your burden of proof, what you think is excusable isn't excusable, the judge could make a bad ruling or make a mistake (I'm not sayin that the judge did or will do this), the other side could make a more compelling argument, or you're just wrong. I don't know.

    My suggestion is that you have a lawyer or legal aid review the case. If you're fighting a hospital or a debt collection agency, they're known to have aggressive lawyers.


  2. I agree with Attorney Johns. There are a multitude of reasons why a motion to vacate default judgment would be denied. It is not possible to ascertain specific reasons without reviewing your file.

    It is typical that the judge will not review the motion until after the fee waiver is decided.

    It is also common practice for the judge to have made a tentative ruling on the motion, which is sometimes posted on the Internet, sometimes printed out and placed on counsel table on the date of the hearing, and sometimes orally announced during the motion hearing itself. In other words, in all likelihood, the judge will already have made up his or her mind before you step into the courtroom. This is why it is so important for your motion papers to be correct, and for you to file a Reply to Opposition in the event the plaintiff files an Opposition.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.


  3. I agree with my colleagues but also want to address a point you mention iin your question that they did not. When trying to set aside a default, issues related to the underlying claim are not really relevant. You say that you presented "enough evidence in the motion to prove that the medical bill was unfair and was disputed from the very start." That goes to the merits of the case, it is irrelevant to what must be the focus of a party seeking to set aside a default. Therefore, in your papers, focus on why the default should be set aside, nothing else.

    It would be very useful to you if you were able to obtain the assistance of counsel.