So You Think You Know The Law

January 2018


When a defendant does not have notice of a claim against him, any default judgment issued on that claim is void.

(FALSE) – Lack of notice renders a default judgment voidable not void. The defendant may petition the court to set aside the default judgment within the earlier of (1) 180 days after notice of the judgment, or (2) 2 years after entry of default.


A default judgment that grants the plaintiff an award of damages greater than alleged in her complaint is void to the extent that it exceeds the complaint.

 – The court does not have proper jurisdiction over the amount of damages awarded when it exceeds the amount alleged in the complaint. Any default judgment issued is void to the extent that jurisdiction is improper.


A defendant may, at any time, petition the court to set aside a default judgment when the failure to file a timely response was due to the defendant’s reliance on his attorney to respond and the attorney failed to do so.

(FALSE) – When a failure to provide a timely response is due to mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, the defendant has to petition the court to set aside the default judgment within a reasonable time, not to exceed six months (180 days) of the default entry.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.