Monday, December 19, 2022

Default Judgment Worth $1 Million Dollars Opened Due to Fatal Defects in the Record

In the case of Grady v. Nelson, No. 2115 EDA 2021 (Pa. Super. Oct. 21, 2022 Stabile, J., Dubow, J., and Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Stabile, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed a trial court Order in which the trial court denied a Defendant’s Petition to Strike or Open a Default Judgment.

On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a Sheriff’s Return of Service indicating the non-existence of an address was conclusive on its face to render a Petition to Strike or Open Default Judgment meritorious as it was apparent from the record that the Defendant had not been afforded notice of the proceedings.

According to the Opinion, this matter arose out of a shooting incident on premises owned by the Defendant. The court noted that a default judgment was entered against the Defendant in the amount of $1 million dollars.

The Superior Court opened the judgment after finding two (2) fatal defects that existed on the face of the record. One, the court found that there was conclusive evidence that the Plaintiff had served the Complaint and the judgment notices on a non-existent address, thereby depriving the Defendant of notice that this action was pending against him.

Also, the court found that the Plaintiff’s 10-Day Notice of Intent to Enter a Default Judgment did not substantially comply with the language required under Pa. R.C.P. 237.5 and 237.1.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 15, 2022).

Source of image:  Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on

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