Dog Bite Cases Not Suitable for Clerk Default Judgment Under CCP §585

CCP §585 Paralegal LA
CCP §585 Paralegal









Dog Bite Cases Are Not

Suitable for a CCP §585

Clerk’s Default Judgment


This article is written for my good colleague and nationally recognized dog bite law expert attorney Ken Phillips. A few years ago Mr. Phillips retained me to draft a complete clerk’s default judgment by declaration package in a dog bite case. The defendant’s answer was ordered stricken for failure to respond to discovery. Or something like that. Maybe the grounds were failure to respond to discovery. I forget the exact mechanics of how our dog bite case got to default judgment.

The point is that dog bite cases are not suitable for a clerk default judgment.  I remember explaining this to counsel at the time. This morning I was reminded of it again when I found this Orange County Superior Court Default Judgment Checklist Form L-1006. Next time check the box for a court default judgment. 


Other Cases Not Suitable for

CCP §585 Clerk’s Judgment


If the dollar amount of relief sought is not for a sum certain, fixed or determinable from the contract terms or if the case did not arise from a contract or judgment. If the summons and complaint were served by court ordered publication. Or if at least one of the defendants has not had their default entered and has not been dismissed. These types of cases may not be suitable for clerks default judgment. Therefore check the box for court judgment. I always play it safe and request a court default judgment. It takes the same amount of work to apply for a court default judgment and there is a lot less chance of your default judgment package being rejected. 


Cases that Are Suitable for

Default Judgment Under CCP §585


Request Clerk’s Judgment under CCP §585 if your lawsuit is for a open-book account as provided for in CCP §337(a). Complaints for promissory notes, recovery of money or damages only, breach of contract and collections cases. Clerk’s judgment should only be requested for complaints that state a sum certain arising from a written contractual dispute. A clerk default judgment may be granted in a lawsuit arising from a contract for the recovery of money or damages where the relief sought is a fixed sum certain. The default judgment may be entered immediately following the clerk’s entry of default. CCP §585(a)

By Dean McAdams

Born a poor peckerwood in a Tujunga holler, Dean practiced secrets of the ancient & modern masters to end up liberated in the coastal paradise of West L.A.