Obtaining a default judgment by declaration in California

Obtaining a default judgment by declaration in California is the topic of this blog post. 

Obtaining a default judgment by declaration in California is authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 585(d) which permits a default judgment to be entered using declarations in lieu of personal testimony which avoids the time and expense of a Court hearing.

In fact there are many counties in California in which a default judgment by declaration is the preferred method. In those counties it is only in unusual cases that the Court will require what is known as a “prove-up” hearing.

Before any default judgment can be entered against a defendant the clerk must first enter default against that defendant.  You can request that the clerk enter the default without requesting a Court judgment by default.

In fact in my personal opinion that is a smart move as it usually takes time to obtain the necessary documents and signatures before requesting a Court judgment by default. The sooner a default is entered against a defendant the better as that will start the six month clock running on any motion for discretionary relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b).

Judicial council form CIV-100 Request for Entry of Default is used to have the default entered, and must also be used to have the default judgment entered as well. The appropriate boxes on the form must be checked, and when a default judgment is requested, the principal amount, the accrued interest, and any court costs and attorney fees must be entered as well.

I always submit the following documents in support of any request for a default judgment.

Statement of Case in support of request for default judgment:

This should always contain a brief summary of the causes of action against the defendant and the amounts requested.

Declaration regarding calculation of pre-judgment interest:

This is required when pre-judgment interest is requested and must detail exactly how the pre-judgment interest has been calculated such as interest rate, yearly interest divided by 365 which equals a daily interest which is then multiplied by the number of days since the breach of contract, or other event.

Declaration of plaintiff or cross-complainant in support of request for default judgment:

This should always contain all the ultimate facts and relevant dates which support the claim or claims against the defendant, and also any documents in support of the claims should be attached as exhibits.

Proposed default judgment:

This must be submitted for signature by the Judge. It should contain all of the relevant amounts such as principal, pre-judgment interest, court costs, and also should state the total amount of the judgment.

Some courts will also require that all "DOE" defendants be dismissed before the default judgment is entered.  Checking with the court clerk is a good idea as some courts do have their own specific requirements.

Attorneys or parties in California who wish to view a portion of a sample default judgment package for sale by the author that includes the documents mentioned in this blog post can use the link shown below.

Sample Default Judgment Package for California by Stan Burman on Scribd

 

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.


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DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.