Tom Murphy

Hopkins & Huebner

Adel Office

Default Judgments

Most people will never be a defendant in a civil lawsuit.  However, people are often sued because of fender-benders, disputes over bills, and other civil matters. 

When a person is served with a lawsuit, hesitation is not an option.  The Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure provide that if action is not taken within a reasonable time, the party bringing the lawsuit may have a default judgment entered against the defendant.  The judgment is usually for a sum of money. 

Service of a lawsuit is usually accompanied by an “Original Notice” which describes the time in which the defendant must respond to the lawsuit.  If the proper response to take action is not filed within the time, the suing party may send a notice telling the defendant to take action within ten days.  This notice only has to be sent by regular mail.  The ten days runs from the date the notice is mailed. 

At the end of the ten-day period, if no response has been filed, the party bringing the lawsuit may apply to the court to have a judgment entered.  If the party is seeking an amount which is easily determined, the party merely has to submit an affidavit that the amount is due and judgment may be entered. 

While there are circumstances under which a default may be set aside, it is better to take action and avoid a judgment being entered.    

If you are sued, take immediate action.  Either find a lawyer to assist you or figure out how to respond yourself.  Do not waste time and assume that the lawsuit will go away if you do nothing.