Court Appearance Default
Did you attend a court appearance and the other side wasn’t there? Did you miss a court date and want to know what your options are? Vaughn and Weber can help you decide what to do next.
People miss appointments. It’s a fact of life. Accidents, illnesses, family emergencies, or any number of other events beyond our control may prevent people from attending meetings, even very important ones. Court appearances are just as likely to be interrupted by such events as anything else. Courts understand this, and missing a court date is not necessarily fatal to a case. When someone misses a court date, or “defaults,” every party involved – the appearing party, the absent or defaulting party, and the Court – has options.
Section 202.7 of the Uniform Court Rules, titled “Defaults,” provides:
At any scheduled call of a calendar or at any conference, if all parties do not appear and proceed or announce their readiness to proceed immediately or subject to the engagement of counsel, the judge may note the default on the record and enter an order as follows:
(a) If the plaintiff appears but the defendant does not, the judge may grant judgment by default or order an inquest.
(b) If the defendant appears but the plaintiff does not, the judge may dismiss the action and may order a severance of counterclaims or cross-claims.
(c) If no party appears, the judge may make such order as appears just.
This section gives Courts certain options, depending on the type of case, and whether the defaulting party is a defendant or plaintiff. Most importantly, this rule gives the Court the power to enter a Default Judgment against the absent party. When a Default Judgment is entered against the absent party, the present party wins the case. This is good news for the present party, but it is not the end of the story. Even if the Court enters a Default Judgment against the absent party, the present party – the “winner” – still has work to do. Section 2220 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules requires that the winner provide the defaulting party with notice of the Judgment. When the defaulting party receives notice of the Judgment, that party has a certain period of time to ask the Court for an opportunity to explain the absence. If the Court is satisfied that the absent party has good cause for missing the court date, the Court may re-open the case. If not, then the default judgment ends the case.
If you have questions about defaulting on court appearances, Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you. Call 516-858-2620 to schedule a free consultation. We are located in the heart of Long Island at 393 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 208, Mineola, NY 11501.
*Contributions to the research for this article have been made by Jason Mays, J.D.