Question from Lin, What happens if I didn’t respond to a civil action because I was assured representation, but a default judgment was issued against me?
Answer from AI:
When you’re named as a defendant in a civil action, it’s crucial to respond to the summons and complaint in a timely manner. If you fail to do so, the court may issue a default judgment against you. This means the plaintiff may win the case by default and you may be required to pay damages or comply with other court orders.
Reliance on Attorney’s Assurance
If you relied on an attorney’s assurance that they would file a notice of appearance on your behalf, and they failed to do so, you might have a claim for legal malpractice. Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to perform their duties to the standard expected of a reasonably competent attorney, causing harm to their client.
Setting Aside a Default Judgment
In some cases, it may be possible to have a default judgment set aside or vacated. This typically requires showing the court that you had a good reason for not responding to the lawsuit and that you have a potentially valid defense to the plaintiff’s claims.
The steps to set aside a default judgment generally include:
- Filing a motion to set aside the default judgment
- Providing a reasonable explanation for your failure to respond
- Presenting a potentially valid defense to the plaintiff’s claims
Consulting with a Legal Professional
It’s important to consult with a legal professional if you find yourself in this situation. They can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your case and the laws in your jurisdiction.
Legal Malpractice Claim
If you believe that the attorney who assured you of filing a notice of appearance failed in their duty, you may want to consider a legal malpractice claim. This is a complex area of law and it’s recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in legal malpractice cases.
Remember, this information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.