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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Learn What a Default Judgment is & Why it's so Bad from NJ Business and Personal Law Attorney Peter J. Lamont


In today’s video we are going to talk about default judgment. I am going to explain what it is and how it can impact your case.

Hi, my name is Peter Lamont. I am a business and personal law attorney and I make videos like this to help educate people and give them a better understanding of their legal rights and obligations. I think it’s really important for people to understand the law, because its help them understand the importance of the legal process and how to avoid liability and what to do if you find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit. 

Now back to today’s topic, which is a default judgment? First of all what is it? Well, a judgment is essentially an order by the court, doing or awarding something and in the case of a lawsuit, when the plaintiff files a complaint against you and serves it upon you, they are asking for some relief. It could be a monetary relief, it could be money, it could be that they want you to stop doing something, whether they want you to do something and every complaint and summons has a set period of time for you to respond either by filing an answer or filing a motion and not to get into the specifics of what motions are appropriate, you know, about receiving a summons and complaint, we can talk about that in another video. 

But for today's purposes, when you get served with a summons and complaint, you have a set period of time. It varies from state to state and within that time you either need to answer the complaint or file a motion. If you don't, the relief that the plaintiff is requesting can be awarded to the plaintiff, if the plaintiff files a motion to obtain a default judgment. It essentially means that because you didn't do something, because you didn’t file the answer, or because you didn't file a motion, the court’s just going to award the plaintiff whenever he or she is asking for, there’s no ability to dispute the claims. You didn’t answer, so the court awards the plaintiff whatever he or she was looking for, simple as that. Now obviously the impact on your case is quite clear. If you do not answer the complaint or move, and the plaintiff gets a judgment, a default judgment against you, after some small steps docketing the judgment, that sort of thing, the plaintiff will have a fully enforceable judgment against you, and it's as if he went through a full trial and the jury awarded him whatever he was looking for. 

So now you're faced with a serious dilemma because now there's a judgment that is out there against you and most judgments, or most states I should say, allow you to try to collect on a judgment for a period of twenty years, so it's a significant impact on your case. So what should you do? Well the most important thing is when you get served with a summons or complaint or some other legal document, it is critical that you immediately contact an attorney. You know lot of people will get something there, it's confusing, it’s scary and they will kind of stick in the bottom of the mail pile, and hope that it goes away but these things don't go away. You know, if somebody has gone to the extent of filing a lawsuit whether they did it on their own pro say or whether they did it through an attorney, they had to invest time and money into the process. It’s not going to go away. Your best bet is to face this, grab it by the horns and then go and contact an attorney. It’s much easier for an attorney to help defend you in a suit when they are answering or moving within the proper or allotted time, as opposed to now trying to get out of a default judgment which we talk about in another video, but it's not always easy to do. You can’t always get out of the judgment. 

So, that's the lesson I want you to learn from this. If you get served with summons or complaint immediately contact an attorney. Let them help guide you through the process, as opposed to you try to do on your own, or doing nothing, because the court will award a default judgment against you, and in favor of the plaintiff. 

Now if you have questions about this topic I am going to give you my phone number and my direct e-mail and I sincerely encourage you to pick up the phone or shoot me an e-mail, ask your questions. I am more than happy to answer them. It's really part of our public duty. It’s our obligation to try to educate people about the intricacies of the law. You know a lot of lawyers try to keep it under wraps and they want to make it mystical and magical, but it's not. It’s something that you can learn even if you're not a lawyer and that's the purpose of these video series and the purpose in me giving you my contact information, so that you can call me. I'd be happy to answer the questions for you. Well that's it for today but before I go, as promised, my telephone number is (973) 949-3770 and my direct e-mail plamont@peterlamontesq.com. Seriously don't be afraid to pick up the phone or send me an e-mail. I will answer your question. 

One other thing I want to talk about quickly is that if you iPhone or iPad, you can go to the iTunes App Store, search the name of our firm “Law offices of Peter Lamont” and you will find a free app.  Now this app is pretty cool because it allows you to ask questions from your iPhone or iPad that are directly sent to an attorney in my office and you will get a response back and answer to your question directly from an attorney, not a paralegal, not a legal assistant, not a secretary, a licensed attorney will be answering your question. The app is free there is no in app purchases, there is no gimmicks, there's no nothing. We don't get anything from the app other then we feel it give back to the community by helping educate people and helping them understand the law. So thanks again for watching this video. If you have questions, give me a call and I'll help you out and otherwise I see you next time.

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If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.  Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico.  Affiliated throughout the country.

© 2014, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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