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DEFAULT JUDGMENT

1. a judgment against defendant who has failed to respond to plaintiff's action or to appear at the trial or hearing. EXAMPLE: A carpenter files a suit against a homeowner, claiming that the homeowner failed to pay the carpenter for work performed six months ago. Under the state’s court rules, the homeowner has twenty days to file an answer to the carpenter’s claim. If the homeowner fails to do so within twenty days, the court will enter a default judgment against him declaring that the homeowner must pay the carpenter what is claimed. 2. judgment given without the defendant being heard in his own defense.

Compare confession of judgment; ex parte.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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