Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Default Judgment Opened Where Plaintiff Used Old Form Language in Pa.R.C.P. 237.5


In the case of Pennachio v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., No. 10120 of 2017, C.A. (C.P. Lawrence Co. Aug. 6, 2019 Motto, P.J.), the court struck the entry of a default judgment against the Defendant after finding that the Plaintiff’s notice of default was fatally defective because it failed to contain the specificity required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.  

This matter arose out of a slip and fall incident at a Wal-Mart store.   After the Plaintiff obtained service and Wal-Mart never filed a responsive pleading, the Plaintiff sent an “Important Notice” as required by Pa. R.C.P. 237.5, notifying Wal-Mart that it had ten (10) days to take action or would suffer the entry of a default judgment.   When Wal-Mart did not take any action, the default judgment was filed by the Plaintiff.  

Wal-Mart responded with a Petition to Strike Default Judgment and asserted that the Plaintiff had failed to use the specific language required by Pa. R.C.P. 237.5.  

The court agreed with Wal-Mart that this was a fatal defect that required a default judgment to be stricken because the language that was used by the Plaintiff lacked the necessary specificity. The court noted that the Plaintiff utilized the language that was used in the old version of Rule 237.5 before it was amended back in 1994.  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Sept. 3, 2019).  



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