What if I do Nothing? A look at Default.
There are strict timelines related to any lawsuit. Typically, when you are served with a summons and complaint you have thirty days to file your response – known as your Answer. The summons is supposed to specify how long you have to file your response. Default is the situation when you fail to answer the complaint on time. Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state, “When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party’s default.” In other words, if you fail to answer within the thirty days you will be in default and that means that you automatically lose the lawsuit regardless of the facts of the case. By losing the lawsuit you will be subject to having to pay damages and maybe even lawyer fees and other legal costs.
Depending on the type of lawsuit and how complex the damages request is the court may be able to automatically compute the damages or it may decide that it is necessary to hold a damages hearing to determine how much should be awarded to the plaintiff.