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Motion for Clerk's Default in Damages

Updated on Sat Aug 13 2022 |

What is a default judgement

A default judgement means the defendant did not fight the charges the plaintiff made, and as a result the plaintiff wins by default. This usually only happens when the defendant doesn't show up to their trial or doesn't file any kind of response with the court. This is surprisingly common, particularly in cases where the tenant does not have a rational basis for refusing to follow a notice to vacate.

As many as 60% of court cases against individual defendants result in a default due to the defendant not showing up. Before the court will issue a default, a number of steps have to be followed correctly to ensure the defendant was in fact aware of, and had sufficient time to respond to, the court case.

When can a plaintiff get a default judgement?

In order to get a default judgement, a plaintiff needs to file a case in court, correctly serve the defendant, ensure the proof of service is filed by the process server, attend their court hearing, and then file this motion. After this Clerk's Default, there will be another motion to request the judge in the case to enter a Final Default.

What is the Clerk's Default form used for?

The Motion for Clerk's Default in Damages form is used in Florida evictions cases to ask the clerk to formally state that a default judgement should be entered. Before doing this, the clerk will verify the court papers were filed correctly and that a proof of service exists for the case. After the court clerk grants approves this motion, the approved motion will be presented to the judge to enter the final judgement. The 'In Damages' part just means that this motion is for obtaining a financial award from the defendant (usually due to the cost of repairing damage caused by the defendant or due to unpaid backrent).

What's the difference between the Final Default Judgement form and this Clerk's Default form?

The Clerk's Default comes first in the process because the clerk verifies all the paperwork was filed correctly. The Motion for Final Default Judgement form in an eviction case is a motion filed to request the judge to issue the final judgement. This final judgement is what allows a plaintiff (landlord) to actually get some kind of action. In this case, allows the landlord to start collecting the judgement.

How is the form filed in court?

Typically, this form is partially filled out by the plaintiff and handed to the clerk while the plaintiff is still in court for the trial. Since a default judgement is primarily only relevant when the defendant doesn't appear for a trial after being served correctly, the plaintiff can usually decide to file it right away after the trial.

To speed things along, the plaintiff can prepare a Motion for Clerk's Default online and bring it to court with them.

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