Last week, I wrote about the commencement of civil actions in Pennsylvania. In that post, I explained that after a Civil Complaint has been filed and served upon you, you must respond to the Complaint within 20 days. If you do not, the person who filed the complaint will send you a Notice of Default Judgment 10 days before asking the court to enter a Default Judgment against you. A Default Judgment says you do not care about being sued and do not care about defending the case, so you will just pay.
However, Default Judgments are not the end of the road. You may file a Motion to Open Default Judgment. If the person who filed the case does not want to agree to open the Judgment, you will have to show three things in order to convince the Court to let you open the Judgment and start from the beginning:
1. That you have a legitimate excuse for not responding to the Complaint within 20 days.
2. That you have a meritorious defense to the original Complaint.
3. That you are asking for the Default Judgment to be opened within a reasonable amount of time after discovering that a Judgment was issued against you, i.e. less than 30 days.
Once you open the Judgment, you will start all over and have an opportunity to file Preliminary Objections and/or an Answer.
I have experience opening Default Judgments and handling the possible Discovery proceedings associated with the process. If you have a Default Judgment against you, call me right now at 412-209-0657. Time is not in your favor.