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Default Judgments – When the Defendant Does Not File an Answer in a Formal Civil Case

What is a default?

A default is a failure by the Defendant to file a response or Answer to the Plaintiff’s Complaint within the required timeline. If the Defendant does not file an Answer within 20 days of receiving Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Plaintiff can ask the court to enter a default judgment that would finish the case without the Defendant's participation.

A default judgment means:

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When can the Plaintiff file for default?

If the Defendant does not file an Answer within 20 days of being served the Complaint, the Plaintiff may ask the court to grant a Default Judgment giving the Plaintiff what was asked for in the Complaint.

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What do I file for default?

After 20 days, you can file these 2 documents together:

You must send the Defendant a copy of the Default Application and Default Judgment and fill out the Certificate of Service section at the end of the Debt Default Application form stating the date and method you gave the Defendant a copy of both documents. You can send by first class U.S. mail or hand deliver it.

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How do I fill out a Debt Default Application?

Caption: Circle "District" and fill out the top part of the first page with the court location, party names, and case number exactly as it is filled in on the Complaint.

Affidavit:

Proof of Service (paragraph 1): Check the box that says how you served the Defendant with the Summons and Complaint.

Is the Defendant able to respond to the Complaint? (paragraphs 3 to 5): You must confirm to the court that the Defendant is not a minor, has the mental capacity to respond to your Complaint, and is not on active duty in the military. You can use the military locator to see if someone is in the military.

Original Contract (paragraph 6): If the debt was based on a contract, attach the original contract to the Default Application. If you do not have the original, explain why, and attach a copy.

Debt Buyers (paragraph 7): If you bought the debt from someone else, attach proof of the sale.

Judgment (paragraph 8): Explain what you want the court to order the Defendant to pay.

Principal: State the amount the Defendant owes you under your contract. This cannot be more than what you asked for in the Complaint.

Pre-Judgment Interest: If you want to ask for interest to start before the case finishes, state whether you want it to start the date the Defendant was served with the Complaint and Summons or a different date under your contract. If you pick a different date, explain why and attach documents to show the debt was due that date. You must also state if you want to use Alaska’s pre-judgment interest rate or a different rate. If you use an interest rate from your contract, tell the court the page of the contract that lists the rate.

Costs: You can ask the court to order the Defendant to pay the costs of the lawsuit. Some examples are the filing fee and the cost to serve the Defendan. Attach documents showing your costs. If you are suing someone for a bounced check, you can include the bounced check civil penalty that is 3 times the check amount (up to $1,000) plus court costs and fees. (See AS 09.68.115).

Attorney Fees: Attorney fees are calculated under Civil Rule 82 PDF.

Interest after the Judgment is entered: If you want to ask for interest on the judgment, list the interest rate, which can be from your contract or Alaska’s pre-judgment interest rate. If you use an interest rate from your contract, tell the court the page of the contract that lists the rate.

Attach Default Judgment, CIV-497 [Fill-In PDF]

Sign in front of a notary or a court clerk: Fill in your contact information. It is important that the court always have current contact information for you so you can be notified of orders or court hearings. This form is an affidavit that you must sign in front of an official, such as a court clerk or notary public, showing your ID. The court clerks can notarize your signature for free, but make sure to bring your ID.

For the Default Judgment:

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Will there be a hearing?

There may be a hearing on a Default Application in debt cases. It depends on whether the judge needs more information and wants to ask some questions.

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Can I ask the court to undo a default judgment against me?

There are 2 options depending on how recent the default judgment was and whether the Plaintiff started to collect money from you.

1. If the default judgment was entered recently, and the creditor has not started collecting money from you under the judgment, you can file these 2 documents together:

This asks the court to:

You will need to explain to the court a good reason, called “good cause,” that you did not file your Answer on time. The judge is more likely to grant the motion if you have a strong affirmative defense.

You can read more about filling out a Motion, Affidavit & Order to Set Aside Default & Accept Late Filed Answer in the next FAQ, below. You can read more about filling out an Answer & Counterclaim to Complaint to Collect a Debt.

2. If the default judgment was not recently entered, or if the creditor has started to execute on the judgment, you can file these 2 documents together:

The Motion to Set Aside Judgment should explain why the court should set aside the default judgment, stating the specific reasons according to Civil Rule 60(b) PDF. You can read more about a Motion to Set Aside Judgment including an explanation about the reasons.

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How do I fill out a Motion, Affidavit & Order to Set Aside Default and Accept Late Filed Answer?

Caption: Fill out the caption by circling "District" and filling out the top part of the first page with the court location, party names, and case number exactly as it is filled in on the Complaint.

Write your name where requested, the date on the Entry of Default you received.

Affidavit:

Mark the box in paragraph 1 that says how and when you received the Complaint, or that you did not receive it.

In paragraph 2, explain why the court should set aside the default judgment and allow you to file an Answer.

If you would like the court to have a hearing on your motion, check the box in paragraph 4, and check the boxes in paragraph 5 that tell the court what documents you are including.

Sign in front of a notary or a court clerk: Fill in your contact information. It is important that the court always have current contact information for you so you can be notified of orders or court hearings. This form is an affidavit that you must sign in front of an official, such as a court clerk or notary public, showing your ID. The court clerks can notarize your signature for free, but make sure to bring your ID.

Include the following document with your motion:

File and Serve your Motion

Make 2 copies of your Motion (so you have 2 copies and the original)

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Rev. 28 February 2019
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