Nobody’s Default But Mine

Regular readers may recall the plaintiff’s multi-year, multi-appeal quest to obtain a no-answer default judgment in the recent case of Elite Door & Trim, Inc. v. Tapia. That situation has presented itself again in another case arising out of the same trial court. This time, the case had only been reversed and remanded once before, unlike the two previous decisions in the Elite Door case. In the present case, the court of appeals had previously reversed the trial court’s order dismissing for want of prosecution because the court had not given the plaintiff sufficient notice of its intent to dismiss the case. On remand, the plaintiff amended its pleadings and filed an amended motion for entry of default. In the meantime, the trial court set another DWOP hearing. The plaintiff filed a motion to retain the case on the docket, noting that its request for a hearing on a default judgment had been denied by the court coordinator on the ground that the court did not set default motions for hearing unless it was deemed necessary by the court. The trial court then signed an order dismissing the case for want of prosecution. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the trial court erred in refusing to grant default judgment to the plaintiff, and that it was an abuse of discretion to dismiss the case for want of prosecution in light of the plaintiff’s diligence in amending its pleadings and seeking entry of a default judgment. The court therefore remanded again and directed that judgment be granted in favor of the plaintiff on its claims for liquidated damages, attorney fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest.

Harris, N.A. v. Obregon, No. 05-10-01349-CV

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