6:6-3. Judgment by Default
- (a) Entry by the Clerk; Judgment for Money.
If the plaintiff’s claim against a defendant is for a sum certain or for a sum that can by computation be made certain, the clerk on request of the plaintiff and on affidavit setting forth a particular statement of the items of the claim, the amounts and dates, the calculated amount of interest, the payments or credits, if any, the net amount due, and the name of the original creditor if the claim was acquired by assignment, shall enter judgment for the net amount and costs against the defendant, if a default has been entered against the defendant for failure to appear and the defendant is 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 and the amount of such interest. 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 R. 4:42-11(a). If a statute provides for a maximum fixed amount as an attorney fee, contractual or otherwise, and if the amount of the fee sought is specified in the complaint, the clerk shall add it to the amount due, provided that in lieu of the affidavit of services prescribed by R. 4:42-9(b) the attorney files a certification that sets forth the amount of the fee sought, how the amount was calculated, and specifies the statutory provision and, where applicable, the contractual provision that provides for the fixed amount. If the claim is founded on a note, contract, 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. The clerk may require for inspection the originals of such documents. The affidavit shall contain or be supported by a separate affidavit containing a statement, by or on behalf of the applicant for a default judgment, that sets forth the source of the address used for service of the summons and complaint. The affidavit prescribed by this Rule shall be sworn to not more than 30 days prior to its presentation to the clerk and, if not made by plaintiff, shall show that the affiant is authorized to make it.
- In any action to collect an assigned claim, plaintiff/creditor shall submit a separate affidavit certifying with specificity the name of the original creditor, the last four digits of the original account number of the debt, the last four digits of the defendant-debtor’s Social Security Number (if known), the current owner of the debt, and the full chain of the assignment of the claim, if the action is not filed by the original creditor.
- If plaintiff’s records are maintained electronically and the claim is founded on an open-end credit plan, as defined in 15 U.S.C. §1602(i) and 12 C.F.R. §226.2(a)(20), a copy of the periodic statement for the last billing cycle, as prescribed by 15 U.S.C. §1637(b) and 12 C.F.R. §226.7, or a computer-generated report setting forth the previous balance, identification of transactions and credits, if any, periodic rates, balance on which the finance charge is computed, the amount of the finance charge, the annual percentage rate, other charges, if any, the closing date of the billing cycle, and the new balance, if attached to the affidavit, shall be sufficient to support the entry of judgment.
- (b) Entry by the Clerk; Judgment for Possession. In summary actions between landlord and tenant for the recovery of premises, judgment for possession may be entered by the clerk on affidavit if the defendant fails to appear, plead or otherwise defend, and is not a minor or mentally incapacitated person, except where the landlord acquired title from the tenant or has given the tenant an option to purchase the property. The affidavit must state the facts establishing the jurisdictional good cause for eviction required by the applicable statute and that the charges and fees claimed to be due as rent, other than the base rent, are permitted to be charged as rent by the lease and by applicable federal, state, and local law. If the landlord is not represented by an attorney, the affidavit must state that the landlord is not a corporation or other business entity precluded from appearing pro se by R. 6:10. If the landlord is represented by an attorney, that attorney must also submit a certification that the charges and fees claimed to be due as rent, other than the base rent, are permitted to be charged as rent by the lease and by applicable federal, state, and local law. If the basis for eviction requires service of a notice to quit, the landlord's affidavit must have a copy of all required notices attached, and the affidavit must state that the notices were served as required by law and that the facts alleged in the notices are true.
If the landlord fails to obtain or make written application for the entry of a judgment for possession within 30 days after the entry of default, such judgment shall not be entered thereafter except on application to the court and written notice to the tenant served at least seven days prior thereto by simultaneously mailing same by both certified and ordinary mail or in the manner prescribed for service of process in landlord/tenant actions by R. 6:2-3(b); provided, however, that the 30-day period may be extended by court order or written agreement executed by the parties subsequent to the entry of default and filed with the clerk.
- (c) Entry by the Court; Particular Actions. In all actions to which paragraphs (a) or (b) do not apply, the party entitled to a judgment by default shall apply to the court therefor. No judgment by default shall be entered against a minor or mentally incapacitated person without 5 days' written notice to the guardian or a guardian ad litem appointed for the minor or mentally incapacitated person; nor against any other party without written notice to that party, if the court, in the interest of justice, orders such notice. When a landlord acquired title from the defendant or has given the tenant an option to purchase the property, a judgment for possession by default shall not be entered without proof in open court. If application is made for the entry of judgment by default in deficiency suits or claims based directly or indirectly on the sale of a chattel that has been repossessed peaceably or by legal process, the plaintiff shall prove entitlement to a judgment by affidavit containing a description of the property, the amount realized at the sale or credited to the defendant, the costs of sale and such other proof as required by law. If the plaintiff's claim is for an unliquidated sum that the court finds is susceptible of proof through personal knowledge (as opposed to opinion or expert testimony), it shall enter judgment by default against a defendant either upon oral testimony in open court or upon affidavit containing the qualifications of the affiant and the information that would be required in the case of oral proof. In all negligence actions involving damage to property, proof of negligence of the defendant shall be by affidavit of the person with knowledge of the negligence of the defendant. In automobile negligence actions and insurance subrogation cases proof of the property damage shall be given by an affidavit of an automobile mechanic or an insurance adjuster or appraiser setting forth the affiant's occupation and business address; if employed, the name of the employer and the affiant's position; the date of inspection of the property involved and, if a vehicle, specifying its make or model, its condition at that time, and its mileage if available; the repairs actually made and the estimated cost thereof; a statement that the repairs were necessary and the charges therefor reasonable; and the amount actually paid for repairs, if completed. The plaintiff may request or the court, after review of the affidavits submitted in accordance with this rule, may require oral testimony in open court.
- (d) Time for Entry. If a party entitled to a judgment by default fails to apply therefor within 6 months after entry of default, judgment shall not be entered except on motion to the court and all applicable proofs required under 6:6-3(a) through (c) shall be attached to the moving papers.
- (e) Notice of Entry. At the time a default judgment is entered, the clerk shall notify the judgment-creditor or judgment-creditor's attorney of the effective date and amount of the judgment. Upon receipt of the notice, the judgment-creditor shall notify the judgment-debtor within 7 days by ordinary mail of the effective date and amount of the judgment.