A Petition to Open or strike off a default judgment has to be filed in accordance with your county's local rules, and Bucks is very particular about its rules, so you will need to make sure that you conform this to their Local Rule.
Here is a Petition from Chester County where the plaintiff seeks to open a "default" or "non pros" motion against it. In your case, you are probably the defendant, so the posture is a bit different, but the idea is the same.
Your facts (meaning the reasons why you want the judgment stricken or opened) are obviously going to be different than these, but this will get you started.
PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT OF NON PROS
And now come plaintiffs, Susan Jeffery XXXXXX, husband and wife (“Plaintiffs”), and respectfully XXXXX XXXXX Court pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 3051 for relief from a judgment of non pros entered in this action in favor of Rite Aid of Delaware, Inc. on or about February 27, 2007:
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY OF THIS ACTION
1. This action was commenced by Plaintiffs via a request for the issuance of Writs of Summons against defendants Rite Aid Corporation, William Atkins, MD (“Atkins”), and Happy Harry’s Discount Drug Stores (“Happy Harry’s”) (collectively, the “Original Defendants”) on or about December 12, 2006, following which the requested Writs were issued on December 15, 2006.
2. Upon the issuance of the Writs of Summons on December 15, 2006, counsel for the Plaintiffs provided copies of the Writs to each of the Original Defendants, and requested that each defendant or its representative agree to accept service of the Writs. See, Exhibit A hereto, Declaration of Plaintiff’s counsel Curtis Staropoli, Esq.(the “Staropoli Declaration”)
3. On or about December 27, 2006, an entry of appearance was filed by counsel for Defendant Rite Aid Corporation, and, a Stipulation between counsel for the Plaintiffs and counsel for Rite Aid Corporation amending the case caption to re-designate defendant “Rite Aid Corporation” as “Rite Aid of Delaware, Inc.” (both Rite Aid entities collectively hereinafter referred to as “Rite Aid”) was filed shortly thereafter.
4. On or about December 29, 2006, Defendant Rite Aid filed a Rule to File Complaint.
5. Subsequently, on or about February 25, 2007, a Praecipe for the Entry of Judgment of Non Pros was filed by Defendant Rite Aid, and on February 27, 2007, entries (entries which do not appear as judgments via court order) reflecting an entry of non pros for defendant Rite Aid as against Plaintiff Susan XXXXXX and Plaintiff Jeffery XXXXXX were made on the docket of this matter.
6. Thus, the Court’s docket entries indicate that an administrative entry of non pros was entered on behalf of Rite Aid on February 27, 2007, and, further indicate that, despite service of the Writs upon Defendants Atkins and Happy Harry’s , these defendants did not enter an appearance; did not respond to the Writs served upon them by Plaintiffs, and failed to engage in the action in any fashion
II. RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND
7. As explained herein and in the Staropoli Declaration, Rite Aid’s non pros praecipe was preceded by discussions between counsel, wherein Plaintiffs’ counsel advised Rite Aid’s counsel that the non pros request would not be opposed because Plaintiffs intended to proceed with a Complaint in Federal Court
if the case could not be amicably settled.
8. Following the unopposed filing by Rite Aid of a request for the entry of a judgment of non pros, throughout the balance of 2007 and into 2008, Plaintiffs’ counsel continued to attempt to engage Rite Aid in settlement discussions and to seek an amicable resolution in lieu of to filing suit in the USDCEDPA. See, Exhibit A.
9. The settlement discussions between counsel included Plaintiffs’ provision of a draft Complaint to Rite Aid’s counsel, at the request of Rite Aid Id.
10. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs’ provision of the draft complaint at Rite Aid’s request proved to be just as ineffective as every other one of the dozens of previous efforts made by Plaintiffs over the preceding months to engage Rite Aid in amicable settlement discussions. Id.
11. Thus, in May of 2008, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in substantially the same form as the attached complaint. Id.
12. Unfortunately however, Plaintiffs have since come to realize that they made a mistake concXXXXXXng Rite Aid’s corporate citizenship, which will deprive them of subject matter jurisdiction in the U.S. District Court and leave them without a remedy for their claims unless they are permitted to file their Complaint in this action nunc pro tunc. Id.
13. Despite these circumstances, Rite Aid has refused to agree to the filing of Plaintiff’s Complaint in this action, necessitating this Petition. Id.
III. THE CRITERIA FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT OF NON PROS UNDER Pa.RCP 3051 HAVE BEEN MET
14. Pa.RCP. 3051 provides as follows:
(a) Relief from a judgment of non pros shall be sought by petition. All grounds for relief, whether to strike off the judgment or to open it, must be asserted in a single petition.
(b) If the relief sought includes the opening of the judgment, the petition shall allege facts showing that
(1) the petition is timely filed,
(2) there is a reasonable explanation or legitimate excuse for the inactivity or delay, and
(3) there is a meritorious cause of action.
15. Each of the criteria under Rule 3051 is met in this instance, and Plaintiffs would suffer a substantial injustice should they be unable to pursue their claims against the Defendants.
16. First, Plaintiffs’ Petition has been timely filed under the above-stated circumstances. As set forth in the Staropoli Declaration, this Petition is being filed within two (2) days of Plaintiffs’ realization that they must discontinue their action in the U.S. District Court due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction as to defendant Rite Aid – a circumstance that requires Plaintiffs to bring their claims in state court.
17. Second, Plaintiffs have set forth at length in this Petition and the Staropoli Declaration reasonable grounds for the inactivity in this matter, such grounds being specifically both Plaintiffs’ attempts to amicably resolve the case and their pursuit of the aborted suit in the District Court.
18. Finally, as set forth at length in the attached Complaint, Plaintiffs have meritorious causes of action against all of the Defendants, arising from significant misconduct
severely affecting Plaintiff Susan XXXXXX’s reputation. See Exhibit B.
19. In addition, the equities overwhelmingly favor the granting of Plaintiffs’ Petition, given that the alternative would be to leave the Plaintiffs without a remedy or any opportunity to pursue their claims.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully XXXXX XXXXX their Petition be granted.
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