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Motion to Set Aside a Default Judgement Due to Improper Service

Law Office of William Ray Ford Dec. 22, 2023

Suffering a default judgment after not being properly served can be intensely frustrating. In such circumstances a default judgment has been entered against you without your knowledge or participation because you were not properly notified about the lawsuit.

I understand the stress and confusion that can come from being involved in any kind of lawsuit. It's a difficult situation, more so iwhen you're attempting to respond to a judgment entered without your prior knowledge. An attorney can help you navigate these complexities and pursue a positive resolution.

What Is a Default Judgment? 

A default judgment is a ruling made by a court in favor of the plaintiff (the person or entity who initiated the lawsuit) when the defendant (the person or entity being sued) fails to respond to the lawsuit or appear in court. This often happens when the defendant wasn't properly served with the lawsuit papers or simply didn't know they were being sued. 

Improper Service in Maryland 

In Maryland, the law requires that defendants be served with a copy of the lawsuit—also known as the summons and complaint—to notify them of the legal action. This is usually done by a process server, sheriff, or certified mail. However, if you weren't properly served, you may have grounds to challenge the default judgment. The guidance of a civil litigator can be of crucial significance in these circumstances. 

Motion to Set Aside a Default Judgment 

If you've received notice of a default judgment without being properly served, one of your options is to file a motion to set aside the default judgment. Essentially, this is a formal request asking the court to cancel or vacate the judgment and allow you to defend yourself in the lawsuit. 

According to Maryland Rule 2-535(b), a court may exercise revisory power and control over a judgment at any time in case of fraud, mistake, or irregularity. Improper service falls under the category of "irregularity". In order to set aside a default judgment on these grounds, you must show that the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect. To seek to prove excusable neglect, you must provide a reasonable explanation or justification for your failure to respond to the lawsuit. This might be, for example, that you never received the court papers because they were sent to the wrong address, among other possible explanations.

In addition, Maryland Rule 2-613(d) specifically provides that the court may set aside a default judgment for any reason that would be sufficient to set aside an order under Rule 2-535. This means that if you can show that the judgment was entered due to improper service, the court may vacate the judgment and allow you to present your defense. 

Remember, it's crucial to act as quickly as possible once you become aware of the default judgment. Delay in filing a motion to set aside the judgment might be interpreted as acceptance of the default judgment. Consult with a civil litigation attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights at every stage. 

The Importance of Skilled Legal Counsel 

It’s worth reiterating that working with an experienced civil litigation attorney can significantly increase your chances of success. As your attorney, I can help you understand the strength of your case, gather evidence, negotiate with the other party, and potentially represent you in court. I'm here to help you navigate the legal system and strive to preserve and protect your legal rights. 

It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible upon notice of a default judgment The longer you delay, the more difficult it may become to persuade the court to that there is sufficient cause to vacate the judgment . Whether you're an individual or a business owner involved in a lawsuit, don’t hestitate to reach out for a consultation. At my office , I'm committed to offering strong representation and personalized legal solutions.  

Reach Out To Law Office of William Ray Ford  

If you have not been properly served in accordance with the Maryland Rules of procedure, you have have cause to request the court to consider vacating the judgment. For individuals and businesses in Clinton and elsewhere in Maryland, I’m ready to assist you in attaining the favorable results and the peace of mind you deserve. Set up a consultation with me when you're ready to get started. 

I’m William Ray Ford, a civil litigation attorney based in Clinton, Maryland. As an advocate for all sorts of individuals and businesses, I've been navigating the legal landscape for my clients for over four decades throughout Clinton and the rest of Maryland. At my firm—Law Office of William Ray Ford—I focus on litigation cases, including debt collection defense, motions to vacate, and criminal defense. 

If you live in Clinton or anywhere in Calvert County, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel, Montgomery County, Howard County, Frederick County, or Queen Anne’s County, I'm here to help