Judge: Gregory Keosian, Case: 20STCV44414, Date: 2022-07-26 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 20STCV44414    Hearing Date: July 26, 2022    Dept: 61

Defendant Booftech, LLC’s Motion to Set Aside Default and Default Judgment is GRANTED.


Defendant to give notice.


I.                   MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT


“The court may, upon motion of the injured party, or its own motion, correct clerical mistakes in its judgment or orders as entered, so as to conform to the judgment or order directed, and may, on motion of either party after notice to the other party, set aside any void judgment or order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (d).)


Defendant moves to set aside the May 5, 2021 default and the December 9, 2021 default judgment on three grounds: First, it argues that the default entered against Booftech, LLC was entered against Booftech, LLC, the limited liability corporation, rather than the limited liability company of the same name, named in the Complaint. Second, it argues that the default judgment was supported by an unsigned, undated, and therefore unverified declaration of Plaintiff. And finally, Defendant argues that the default judgment was for damages that exceeded the amounts sought in the complaint, and is therefore void under Code of Civil Procedure § 580. (Motion at pp. 4–6.)[1]


It is the last of these arguments that has merit. “The relief granted to the plaintiff, if there is no answer, cannot exceed that demanded in the complaint[.]” (Code Civ. Proc. § 580, subd. (a).) Thus when a complaint prays for no particular amount of damages, a default judgment entered pursuant to that complaint may be vacated as void. (provided (See Dhawan v. Biring (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 963, 969.) The purpose of this requirement “is to ensure that a defendant is given adequate notice of the amount of the judgment that may be entered against the defendant, as required by due process.” (Id. at p. 969.) Here, the Complaint made no specific prayer for damages, but sought only amounts to be proven at trial. (Complaint ¶¶ 39, 40, 45, Prayer for Relief.) As such, Defendant was given no notice of the damages sought against it until judgment was entered against it, and both the default and judgment, entered in excess of what the complaint sought, are void. (Dhawan, supra, 241 Cal.App.4th at p. 975.)


The motion to vacate default and default judgment are GRANTED.

[1] Defendant has filed a proposed answer with the present motion.