Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in Federal Court
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 7:19 AM

A Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court is the topic of this blog post.

A Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court can be filed by a defendant when the clerk has entered a default, but no judgment has been entered yet.

A Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court is authorized by Rule 55(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which states that,

“The court may set aside an entry of default for good cause, and it may set aside a final default judgment under Rule 60(b).”

A Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court has an important advantage compared to a motion to vacate a default judgment under Rule 60(b) as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated in a published case that the standard of good cause for vacating an entry of default is the same as that for setting aside a default judgment under Rule 60(b), but the test for setting aside entry of default is less rigid and is more generous to the party in default.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has also stated in another published case that there are three factors to be considered by the Court when deciding whether to set aside a default: (1) whether the defendant’s culpable conduct led to the default; (2) whether the defendant has a meritorious defense; and (3) whether setting aside default would prejudice the plaintiff, and that the law does not favor defaults and any doubts should be decided in favor of the defaulting party.

In discussing the first factor of culpable conduct, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated in a published case that even a negligent failure to respond may be excusable if the defaulting party offers a credible, good-faith explanation for the delay that does not show any intention to take advantage of the opposing party, interfere with judicial decision-making, or otherwise manipulate the legal process.

As for the second factor of a meritorious defense, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated in a published case that a defense is considered meritorious if there is some possibility that the outcome of the suit after a full trial will be contrary to the result achieved by the default.

In discussing the third factor of prejudice to the plaintiff if the default is set aside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated in published cases that prejudice is determined by whether a party will be hindered in pursuing its claim, and that the fact that a party may be denied a quick victory is not sufficient to deny relief from default judgment.  Prejudice requires tangible harm such as loss of evidence, increased difficulties of discovery, or greater opportunity for fraud or collusion.

Sample 10 page Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court for sale. 

Attorneys or parties that would like to view a portion of a sample 10 page Rule 55(c) motion to vacate a default in United States District Court containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration and proof of service sold by the author can use the link shown below.

Sample Motion to Vacate Default Under Rule 55(c) in United States District Court by Stan Burman on Scribd

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DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.