I responded to the summons and complaint in a timely manner and also tried to work out a reasonable settlement with the attorneys. We were not able to come to a resolution at the end of the month and I was only given the option of paying the amount in full or they will file a default judgment against me.
If you responded timely and properly to the complaint (such as by filing an Answer with the court), the opposing side cannot take a default judgment against you. They may still prevail in the end but not by means of a default judgment. If you informally "responded" in some way to the summons and complaint but failed to file an Answer other appropriate reponsive pleading, then you have not legally responded and the other side may potentially take a defult judgment against you. You may want to consult an attorney. If you can't afford to retain an attorney to defend you in full, it may be worthwhile to have a consutation for a hour or two to obtain guidance.
This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.
If you "responded to the summons and complaint in a timely manner" the plaintiff may go to trial and try to obtain a judgment, but it won't be a "default" judgment.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
So long as the plaintiff has not obtained a default against you, you can stop a default and default judgment against you by simply filing an Answer or General Denial.
You can file either an Answer or a General Denial, and pay the first appearance filing fee.
The form for the Answer is (Judicial Council Form PLD-C-010):
The form for the General Denial is (Judicial Council Form PLD-050):
If you cannot afford the first appearance filing fee, you may apply for a fee waiver. See:
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.
if you responded to the complaint by filing an answer with the court which you served on them they cannot get a default against you. What kind of case is this? How much are you being sued for?
If in fact you responded in a timely manner and properly filed your response with the Court, opposing counsel would not be able to take a default. So, if you do not properly respond, and the court rejects your response, or opposing counsel in street vernacular jerking your chain. You need to go to court and pull the court's file to see if in fact for certain your response was endorsed filed by the clerk, and made a part of the action. If you have a valid response then you have nothing to worry about. If you do not have a valid response, and a default has not been taken, then you need to prepare a new responsive pleading whether it be an answer, demurrer or motion to strike, etc., and make sure it is filed with the court. If in fact for whatever reason opposing has entered an entry of default judgment against you, then you will need to file a motion to set aside the default. With the facts you have provided, this is in depth as I can possibly go.
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