Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a case that reversed a lower court’s order granting a default judgment in favor of a plaintiff in a car accident case. In the case, Tucker v. Williams, the court ended up holding that the defendant’s failure to respond to the plaintiff’s complaint warranted a default judgment. However, when the defendant ultimately did respond, the trial court should have lifted the default judgment and reopened the case.
The Williamses were involved in a traffic accident that they claimed Tucker was responsible for causing. The accident left Mr. Williams with a permanent serious injury, so the couple filed a negligence lawsuit against Tucker. The case also named two insurance companies.
The two insurance companies responded to the lawsuit, denying liability and asking the court to dismiss the claims. However, Tucker did not respond. After about six months of waiting, the Williamses asked the court to enter a default judgment in their favor, since Tucker did not reply.