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RULE 55: JUDGMENT ENTRY

July 25, 2011

RULE 55.01: ENTRY.

When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provided by these rules and that fact is made to appear by affidavit or otherwise, judgment by default may be entered as follows:

The party entitled to a judgment by default shall apply to the court. Except for cases where service was properly made by publication, all parties against whom a default judgment is sought shall be served with a written notice of the application at least five days before the hearing on the application, regardless of whether the party has made an appearance in the action. A party served by publication is entitled to such notice only if that party has made an appearance in the action. No judgment by default shall be entered against an infant or incompetent person unless represented in the action by a general guardian, committee, conservator, or other such representative who has appeared therein. If, in order 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 averment by evidence or to make an investigation of any other matter the court may conduct such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary and proper and shall accord a right of trial by jury to the parties when and as required by any statute.

RULE 55.02: SETTING ASIDE DEFAULT.

For good cause shown the court may set aside a judgment by default in accordance with Rule 60.02.

RULE 55.03: PLAINTIFFS, COUNTERCLAIMS, CROSS-CLAIMANTS.

The provisions of this rule apply whether the party entitled to the judgment by default is a plaintiff, a third-party plaintiff, or a party who has pleaded a cross-claim or counterclaim. In all cases a judgment by default is subject to the limitations of Rule 54.03.

RULE 55.04: JUDGMENT AGAINST THE STATE OF TENNESSEE.

No judgment by default shall be entered against the state of Tennesseeor any officer or agency thereof unless the claimant establishes his claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court. [Amended by order effective July 1, 1996; and by order effective July 1, 1997; and by order effective July 1, 1998; and by order entered January 28, 2000, effective July 1, 2000.] ]

Advisory Commission Comments [1996].

The amendment to Rule 55.01 requires notice even to nonappearing parties. One reason for the change is the liberal Tennesseecase law allowing Rule 60 relief.

Advisory Commission Comments [1997]. This amendment is technical. Rearrangement of language is intended for clarity.

Advisory Commission Comments [1998]. The former five-day rule has been expanded to thirty days. Consequently, the defendant must be served with written notice of the application at least thirty days before the default hearing.

Advisory Commission Comments [2000]. The amendment [to Rule 55.01] returns the 30 day notice concerning default back to 5 days. Consult Rule 5.02, allowing service by mail, and Rule 6.05, mandating an extra 3 days if mail is used. Also, because Rule 6.01 requires exclusion of weekends and holidays in computing time periods shorter than 11 days, a default judgment on a given Friday after a holiday would require mailing the notice on Monday of the previous week.

Advisory Commission Comments [2009]. The amendment to Rule 55.01 deletes the requirement of notice of application for a default judgment where service is properly made by publication, unless an appearance has been made.

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