Default Judgment: Breakdown of Internal Office Procedure
Under Washington State laws regarding setting aside a default judgment, is a breakdown of internal office procedure considered excusable neglect? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).
“As our Supreme Court recently noted: [L]itigation is inherently formal. All parties are burdened by formal time limits and procedures.” Id. (internal quotation makrs omitted) (alteration in original) (quoting Morin v. Burris, 160 Wn.2d 745, 161 P.3d 956 (2007)). Ultimately, the decision on a motion to vacate an order of default or a default judgment is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Estate of Stevens, 94 Wn. App. 20, 971 P.2d 58 (Div. II 1999).
(c) Setting Aside Default.
(1) Generally. For good cause shown and upon such terms as the court deems just, the court may set aside an entry of default and, if a judgment by default has been entered, may likewise set it aside in accordance with rule 60(b).CR 55(c)(1) (emphasis added).
(b) Mistakes; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence; Fraud;
etc. On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or the party’s legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) Mistakes, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect or irregularity in obtaining a
judgment or order;
On appeal, the Rosander court addressed, inter alia, excusable neglect: the employer first argued that it received untimely notice; second, that there was miscommunication regarding whether plaintiff would pursue a default order; and third, that the employer neglected the case, because its claim handler was on medical leave. Id.