Thursday, June 16, 2022

Superior Court Rules that Trial Court Should Have Stricken Default Judgment Entered Against Defendant

In the case of Penn National Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Phillips, No. 1480 MDA 2021 (Pa. Super. May 17, 2022 Stabile, J., King, J., and Stevens, P.J.E.) (Op. by Stevens, P.J.E.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed a trial court’s denial of a Defendant’s Petition to Strike or Open a Default Judgment entered against him.

This case arose out of an insurance company’s subrogation action for property damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff carrier filed a Complaint against a Defendant and asserted that the Defendant lived at an address in North Carolina.

The carrier filed an Affidavit of Service by mail and sought a default judgment when the Defendant did not respond. The default judgment was entered.

Thereafter, when counsel for the Defendant entered an appearance and filed a Petition to Strike or Open the Default Judgment, that Petition was denied by the trial court.

The Superior Court ruled that the trial court erred in denying the Defendant’s Petition to Strike the Default Judgment because the 10-Day Notice was defective on its face and violated Pa. R.C.P. 237.1(a)(2). More specifically, the court noted that the Plaintiff failed to attach to the Praecipe to Enter Judgment either the 10-Day Notice or a certification that they sent written notice of their intention to file a Praecipe for Default Judgment.

The Superior Court also agreed with the Defendant’s argument that the language in the Plaintiff’s 10-Day Notice was also defective in that it did not substanially comply with Rule 237.5.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (May 31, 2022).

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