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Entry of Default Questions

When a person (the plaintiff) sues someone (the defendant); the defendant gets a certain amount of time to respond to the lawsuit. When this time limit lapses, if the defendant has not responded to the lawsuit, then he/she is considered to be "in default".

In such circumstances, the entry of default prevents a defaulted defendant from fighting the lawsuit, presenting evidence, etc. When this happens, the plaintiff will typically ask the court for a default judgment. Below are the most commonly asked questions about the entry of default, as it applies in bankruptcy cases.

If a person received an entry for default during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and it includes costs and interest, what is to be done now?

As long as the person is filing Chapter 7 and the unsecured debt is not an issue, it would be advisable to go ahead and remove the notice only and list the total amount of the judgment. Technically, this lists the debt twice, but it won't matter in a Chapter 7 and it will be very clear to the creditor and the collection agency that their debt is being discharged.

What comes next after entry of default?

In the case of a default of a lawsuit, the plaintiff usually seeks a final judgment (by waiting a certain period of time). If the judgment is not challenged for a long period of time (usually 30 days or more) then the plaintiff may file a writ of execution to execute on the defendant's assets (if the judgment is for a sum of money). If the default is with respect to a mortgage foreclosure, then the writ is to force a sheriff's sale of the property. The defendant may file a motion or petition to open or strike the judgment if certain facts exist. What happens next can depend on the nature of the lawsuit and the nature of default. If you are not sure how it applies in your case, it would be a good idea to ask an Expert for legal insights.

Person filed for bankruptcy one day and court stated they made a judgment the previous day, now person has to file a motion to dismiss judgment or does person have to file something else with bankruptcy?

The person does not need to do anything else with the judgment, and there would be no need to file a motion to dismiss. The bankruptcy will normally delete the judgment debt so it will not show up again, and while that is going on lenders cannot do anything to collect on it.

As far as the bankruptcy goes the trustee might send a letter asking for documentation. If this happens, you need to make sure to send it promptly. The person in debt needs to send the last tax return filed.

Person is filing chapter 7; filing out schedule F. Court requested for entry of default. Person plans on filing bankruptcy before the court date. How do they list it on schedule F?

The person would list the original creditor in the same manner as the other creditors. They would list separately the name and address of the debt collector and the debt collector's account number for the client. The "Consideration for Claim" would be "collection agency for [original creditor's name]". The "Amount of Claim" would be left blank, so the same debt is not added twice. If this court proceeding took place less than one year before the Bankruptcy will be filed, then they would include the information about the court case on line 4 of the Statement of Financial Affairs.

Major credit card company filed civil suit against customer, company sent a notice that they are requesting an application for an entry of default if the customer claims to have never received the court date, what can be done?

A bankruptcy should discharge this debt for the customer. Since the person had the original summons, if they did not file an answer or otherwise appear in court, a default judgment is entered against that customer. When the lender moves for default, they can then move to collect, thru garnishment, freezing assets like the person’s bank account or putting a lien on real estate. The bankruptcy will stop this action the moment it is filed though.

Having the right information about entry of default can help individuals deal with difficult situations and make the right decisions during a bankruptcy suit. When you are not sure of the best legal course of action, one of the options is to ask an Experts about the entry of default, how it applies in your case and seek legal insights on the best course of action available to you.
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