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BizIPEsq.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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This question centers around parallel litigation, happening

Resolved Question:

This question centers around breach of contract parallel litigation, happening in both NJ and CA.

Person X filed action against person Y in NJ. In response, 3 weeks later person Y filed action on Person X in CA.

In CA the deadline for answering came without any answer by Person X. Within the alloted 10 days of deadline date, CA Plaintiff Y filed to request default judgement.

On the _same_ day this was granted and listed on the court's website, Person X (defendant) contacted Person Y asking if CA plaintiff Y would agree to dismiss the default. The parties disagreed, and now a motion to vacate has been filed.

Here's the question:
What I'm curious is, the timing was too coincidental for it to be a coincidence, and it seems defendant was monitoring the situation in order to react so promptly to the filing of request for default. For an attorney with experience in parallel litigation and 'strategy', is this common? where the defendants hoping somehow that the CA action would not go through? did they think that service was improper and thus did not need to act on it, and only when default was entered they went 'oh wait a minute'? Were they involved in gamemanship in hoping somehow to draw out the CA litigation while the NJ one moved forward?

Basically, I'm really trying to understand why a litigant would let a case go to default and only react then.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  BizIPEsq. replied 1 year ago.

BizIPEsq. : Hello, I will be assisting you
BizIPEsq. : I think you ought to distinguish between human nature and tactics
BizIPEsq. : You can't imagine how many times I came across litigants that ignored every notice and every warning sign just to reach a default stage (most likely knowing that they will be in default) and trying to frantically get themselves out of the mess.
BizIPEsq. : As far as tactics go, jurisdiction shopping even through litigation is a common strategy. By initiating a second action a defendant may hope to put a plaintiff on the defensive, distract them, exact additional pain through added legal fees (generally, initially the cost for an answer is higher than the cost of a complaint) not to mention having to higher additional attorneys in a different state and then legitimately assessing which jurisdiction has better laws or is simply more convenient for litigation.
BizIPEsq. : So as you can see there are many reasons to initiate litigation in a second jurisdiction. Though, I agree with you that it is surprising that a litigant who seems to be tactical would drop the ball concerning the basic task of answering a complaint.
BizIPEsq. : Thank you for allowing me to assist you
Customer: Thank you for your answer. Just to confirm, the 'forum shop' was done by the defendant in the original NJ action. The NJ plaintiff then became the defendant in the CA action. They were properly served in CA so they were aware of the parallel action, but claim that because of the action pending in NJ they did not think the CA action was valid (and this ignored it until the default was entered? But for them to respond the day of, they had to have been monitoring it, knowing something was going to happen?). Given they had representation already in NJ and the attorney there was aware of the action in CA, it's hard to believe they'd drop the ball on it. I'm saying this to maybe correct the impression I got from your answer that the litigant was tactic-ful. Would you still maintain your general answer, or can we ascribe this behavior to be more purposeful then?
BizIPEsq. : Got it. I agree that it is peculiar. Maybe they thought they had an ace in the form of improper service that they could raise at any time. Though in my opinion this would be a risky strategy. Maybe they thought that the action in NJ will reach a certain point before the default will be reached. Maybe they simply cannot afford a second attorney. I see no advantage to being in default so this is a mind bender.
BizIPEsq. : Thank you for your continued patronage
Customer: I suppose it's possible as you say, that it was simple human nature. That's never quite rational or logical.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience: I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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