Legal Memorandum: Denial of Relief from Invalid Default Judgment

Issue: In New Jersey, when is a party entitled to relief from an invalid default judgment?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Relief from an invalid default judgment; Manifested an intention to treat the judgment as valid; Impair another person's substantial interest of reliance
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 765 F.2d 730; 531 N.E.2d 1204; 582 A.2d 1006
Cited Statutes: The Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 66
Date: 02/01/2000

The Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 66, entitled "Denial of Relief from Invalid Default Judgment," provides:


Relief from a default judgment on the ground that the judgment is invalid will be denied if:

(1) The party seeking relief, after having had actual notice of the judgment, manifested an intention to treat the judgment as valid; and

(2) Granting the relief would impair another person’s substantial interest of reliance on the judgment.

Several courts have denied relief from invalid default judgments, where the invalidity was based on failure of service of process.  The cases include: Katter v. Louisiana Gas Co., 765 F.2d 730 (8th Cir. 1985); Wohlegmuth v. 560 Ocean Club, 695 A.2d 345 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1997); and City of Newark v. (497) Block 1854, 582 A.2d 1006 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1990).  Of marginal interest is: Jennings […]

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