Default judgments in most cases must be "proved-up." Whether done by declarations or by a live hearing, the plaintiff will have to prove up his or her damages by submitting evidence of the extent of damages. The judge acts as gatekeeper to make sure that a reasonable judgement is entered. Some judges will accept declarations/affidavits but others will require live testimony. See generally CCP 585.
This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.
One can only estimate based on your very few facts that the court was not satisfied with your declarations and wants live evidence to prove your damages following the default of the defendant.
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.
In California, most default judgments are proven up via declarations (Code of Civil Procedure section 585) with the following exceptions where a live prove up is required by law:
-- In non-contract actions where the defendant(s) have not been served by publication, the court must hear evidence of Plaintiff’s damages. (CCP 585 (b).)
-- In all actions where the service of the summons was by publication. (CCP 585 (c).)
-- In quiet title actions and in cases where the defendant has been served by publication and is a non-California resident. (CCP 764.010; Winter v. Rice (1986) 176 Cal.App.3d 679, 683; CCP 585 (c).
However, a live prove-up hearing is an alternative method (which might be implemented if the plaintiff is representing himself or herself in pro per wherein the pro per plaintiff is likely to mess up on the procedural requirements).
In fact, a live prove up hearing is actually faster and more efficient in many cases.
A live prove-up hearing is really no different than a trial, except that there is no defendant there. Once a default has been entered against the defendant, the defendant no longer has the right to appear in court.
You need to have your witnesses and documentary evidence lined up in order to prove up your case.
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. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
A prove up hearing is an in person hearing usually in the context of a default wherein the court requires the presentation of live witness testimony and evidence.
Obviously the court did not find the declarations sufficient.
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