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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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In Arkansas can there be a money judgment awarded plaintiff

Customer Question

In Arkansas can there be a money judgment awarded plaintiff when the defendant was merely served with summons by way of publication?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
Yes, they can. Rule 55 permits a default judgment to be entered against a person who is properly served and does not respond to the Complaint and Summons. Service by publication is considered proper service. One of the reasons this is allowed is to encourage people to respond to lawsuits against them and to be available for service if they know someone is trying to serve them. The plaintiff may be asked to prove damages to a reasonable certainty at a hearing held for that purpose. Rule 4(f)(2) also requires a party seeking a default after service by publication to file an affidavit stating that it's been at least 30 days since the order was published or posted at the courthouse.
A person who did not have actual knowledge of the case and who has a legitimate defense (other than inability to pay) may file a Motion to Vacate Default under Rule 55(b).
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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
To avoid confusion, please use the REPLY feature to keep all comments on this page. Otherwise, it could be an hour or longer before I know that you've responded to me.
Again, if you were only served by default, did not know about the judgment AND have a legitimate defense to the lawsuit, you can file a Motion to Vacate Default. The fact that they had or could easily have located your address and made no effort to do so IS a basis for removing the default. If you do not live or work in Arkansas, you can also move to dismiss on the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction over you (which IS a legal defense).
You are not required to go to Arkansas to do that. Montana Statute, Section 25-8-503 allows a person to file the same motions in response to a default judgment that would have been filed if the case had been brought there. So, you can seek to vacate the default in the Montana Courts, and if you win, Montana will not enforce the Arkansas judgment.