Civil Court Rules and Jury Charges

Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. (732) 572-0500 http://www.njlaws.com. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co- Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee,GP and lectured at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals. Visit Website www.njlaws.com

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

4:43-2. Final Judgment by Default

After a default has been entered in accordance with R. 4:43-1, except as otherwise provided by R. 4:64 (foreclosures), but not simultaneously therewith, a final judgment may be entered in the action as follows:

(a) By the Clerk. If the plaintiff's claim against a defendant is for a sum certain or for a sum which can by computation be made certain, the clerk upon request of the plaintiff and upon affidavit setting forth a particular statement of the items of the claim, their amounts and dates, a calculation in figures of the amount of interest, the payments or credits, if any, and the net amount due, shall sign and enter judgment for the net amount and costs against such defendant, if not a minor or mentally incapacitated person. If prejudgment interest is demanded in the complaint the clerk shall add that interest to the amount due provided the affidavit of proof states the date of defendant's breach. If the judgment is based on a document of obligation that provides a rate of interest, prejudgment interest shall be calculated in accordance therewith; otherwise it shall be calculated in accordance with Rule 4:42-11(a). If the claim is founded upon a note, check or bill of exchange or is evidenced by entries in the plaintiff's book of account, or other records, a copy thereof shall be attached to the affidavit. If the application for entry of default judgment is made after the expiration of six months following the entry of default, notice thereof shall be given to the defendant by ordinary mail, and proof of service thereof shall accompany the application.

(b) By the Court. By the Court. In all other cases, except Family Part matters recognized by Part V of these Rules, the party entitled to a judgment by default shall apply to the court therefor by notice of motion pursuant to R. 1:6, served on all parties to the action, including the defaulting defendant or the representative who appeared for the defaulting defendant. No judgment by default shall be entered against a minor or mentally incapacitated person unless that person is represented in the action by a guardian or guardian ad litem who has appeared therein. If, to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it into effect, it is necessary to take an account or to determine the amount of damages or to establish the truth of any allegation by evidence or to make an investigation of any other matter, the court, on its own motion or at the request of a party on notice to the defaulting defendant or defendant’s representative, may conduct such proof hearings with or without a jury or take such proceedings as it deems appropriate. The notice of proof hearing shall be by ordinary mail addressed to the same address at which process was served unless the party entitled to judgment has actual knowledge of a different current address for the defaulting defendant. Proof of service of the notice of motion and notice of any proof hearing shall certify that the plaintiff has no actual knowledge that the defaulting defendant’s address has changed after service of original process or, if the plaintiff has such knowledge, the proof shall certify the underlying facts. In tort actions involving multiple defendants whose percentage of liability is subject to comparison and actions in which fewer than all defendants have defaulted, default judgment of liability may be entered against the defaulting defendants but such questions as defendants' respective percentages of liability and total damages due plaintiff shall be reserved for trial or other final disposition of the action. If application is made for the entry of judgment by default in deficiency suits or claims based directly or indirectly upon the sale of a chattel which has been repossessed, the plaintiff shall prove before the court the description of the property, the amount realized at the sale or credited to the defendant and the costs of the sale. In actions for possession of land, however, the court need not require proof of title by the plaintiff. If application is made for the entry of judgment by default in negligence actions involving property damage only, proof shall be made as provided by R. 6:6-3(c).

(c) Conformance of Judgment With Pleading; Service of Judgment. Whether entered by the clerk or the court, the final judgment shall not be different in kind nor exceed the amount demanded in the pleading, except that in continuing causes, installments coming due after the filing of the pleading but before entry of judgment may be added to the amount of the demand stated in the pleading. Within seven days after receipt of the executed judgment from the court, the proponent of the judgment shall serve a copy thereof on the defaulting defendant as required by R. 1:5-2 except that service may be made by ordinary mail alone.

(d) Failure to Apply for Judgment Within Four Months. If a party entitled to a judgment by default fails to apply therefor within four months after the entry of the default, the court shall issue a written notice in accordance with R. 1:13-7(a).