Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Default Judgment — The Postman Cometh But Once.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | March 31, 2012

No. 824

Many mortgage foreclosure defendants fall into this trap.

The Complaint is filed and no response is filed.  After twenty days have elapsed, a ten-day notice is served, but the borrowers are seeking a modification, so nothing happens.  Time goes by, perhaps a year.  Then one day, without further notice, default judgment is taken, a writ of execution entered and a sheriff sale is scheduled — just like that!

What happened?  Somebody with the mortgage servicer decided that the modification was not going to happen. So, without any warning, the plaintiff’s lawyer swooped in and ambushed the trusting defendants.  Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, there is nothing wrong here.  The plaintiff is not required to give a second notice, no matter how long the delay.

That doesn’t mean that nothing can be done.  If this happens to you, get a lawyer immediately.  Under the Rules, a default judgment can be opened within ten days (provided certain specific conditions are met) and perhaps longer if there is a good excuse for the delay.  If there is an error in documentation, the default judgment may also be stricken.




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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