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How-To: Write a Motion for Default Judgment

Background: You sued someone for affirmative relief
Problem: That person has failed to respond to your complaint
Solution: You ask the Court to enter judgment in your favor

I. Definitions

"failure to discharge a duty... in the context of judicial proceedings: failure of one of the parties to take procedural steps to prevent entry of a judgment against him (called a default judgment)." Default Judgment
"1. a judgment against defendant who has failed to respond to plaintiff's action or to appear at the trial or hearing."

"2. judgment given without the defendant being heard in his own defense."

II. Legal Citations

Rule 1.140(a)(1) Fla. R. Civ. P. | Defenses - When Presented
Unless a different time is prescribed in a statute of Florida, a defendant must serve an answer within 20 days after service of original process and the initial pleading on the defendant, or not later than the date fixed in a notice by publication. A party served with a pleading stating a crossclaim against that party must serve an answer to it within 20 days after service on that party. The plaintiff must serve an answer to a counterclaim within 20 days after service of the counterclaim...
Rule 1.500 Fla. R. Civ. P. | Defaults ands Final Judgments Thereon
(a) By the Clerk.
When a party against whom affirmative relief is sought has failed to file or serve any document in the action, the party seeking relief may have the clerk enter a default against the party failing to serve or file such document.

(b) By the Court.
When a party against whom affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provided by these rules or any applicable statute or any order of court, the court may enter a default against such party; provided that if such party has filed or served any document in the action, that party must be served with notice of the application for default.

(e) Final Judgment.
Final judgments after default may be entered by the court at any time... If it is necessary to take an account or to determine the amount of damages or to establish the truth of any averment by evidence or to make an investigation of any other matter to enable the court to enter judgment or to effectuate it, the court may receive affidavits, make references, or conduct hearings as it deems necessary and must accord a right of trial by jury to the parties when required by the Constitution or any statute.

III. Samples

# PDF Comments
1± TBD case. Pro Se Filing | Duval | §1983 Case | Failure to Appear (AG tried to rescue, though)
2- no ruling | 2010 | Attorney Filing | Discrimination Case; Motion to Sever; Withdraw Counsel
3✓ Partially Granted | 2010 | Attorney Filing | Eviction Case; No Exceptions; Attached Default
4✓ Partially Granted | 2011 | Attorney Filing | Eviction Case; Many Citations; Summary Judgment Stated
5- no ruling | 2012 | Attorney Filing | Clerk vacated Default; No responsive pleading
6✓ Granted | 2012 | Attorney Filing | Mortgage Case; Many Citations
7✓ Granted | 2014 | Attorney Filing | Writ of Garnishment
8x Denied | 2014 | Pro Se Filing | Qui Tam Case; Corporation; Constitution Cited
9✓ Granted | 2016 | Attorney Filing | Foreclosure Case; Demand for Payment
10x Denied | 2017 | Attorney Filing | Discovery Problems; Judicial Notice; Sanctions;
11✓ Granted | 2017 | Attorney Filing | Declaratory Judgment; §86.011 FS; Loan
12- no ruling | 2017 | Pro Se Filing | Cited entry of default; $119k in calculated damages;
13✓ Granted | 2017 | Attorney Filing | Declaratory Judgment; §86.011 FS; Loan
14✓ Granted | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Writ of Possession; Many Affidavits (Venue, etc.); Failure to Appear
15✓ Granted | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Declaration Violation; Injunction; Defendant died beforehand
16✓ Granted | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Property case; Cited Freeman v Freeman
17✓ Granted | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Failure to Appear; Affidavits; Requested hearing on damages
18- no ruling | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Dual Request (Default and Default Judgment)
19✓ Granted | 2019 | Proposed Order only (titled "Final Judgment")
20✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Writ of Possession
21✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Unlawful Detainer
22✓ Granted | 2019 | Pro Se Filing | Court-Issued Form
23✓ Granted | 2019 | Pro Se Filing | Prisoner; Willful disregard; Discovery; Many citations; Showed Damages; Attached Default;
24✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Mentioned Default Entry
25✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Included Summary Judgment; Nice Document; Liquidated vs Unliquidated Damages
26✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Dual Request (Default and Default Judgment); Attached Proposed Order(s)
27✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Nice Document; Calculated Damages
28- no ruling | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Defendant asked for an extension, but still failed to respond
29✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Commercial Eviction; incomplete/not proofread
30✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Failure to appear
31✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Fraud case; Motor vehicle; Long-winded; Failure to appear
32- no ruling | 2019 | Pro Se Filing | Standard Form; Failure to appear; Calculated Damages (133k)
33x Denied | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Declaratory Action; Failure to appear
34± pending | 2019 | Pro Se Filing | Non-Lawyer Representative;
35✓ Granted | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Eviction Case; Failure to Appear;
36✓ Granted | 2020 | Attorney Filing | Car Crash; Requested hearing on damages
37✓ Granted | 2020 | Attorney Filing | Failure to appear
38✓ Granted | 2020 | Attorney Filing | Attached Proposed Order
39✓ Granted | 2020 | Attorney Filing | Unlawful Detainer; Quitclaim Deed
40x Denied | 2020 | Attorney Filing | Defendant Moved to Strike (denied); Failed to answer complaint

IV. Templates

# Word Comments
1USFLMD Version | Replace all placeholder tags (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").

V. Quick Commentary

VI. Additional Notes

VII. Conclusion

If your civil opponent has failed to appear and/or failed to answer your complaint then move the Court for Final Judgment After Default.

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to write a Motion for Final Judgment After Default!

Please get the justice you deserve.


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