Defaulted Party Still Entitled to Hearing on Attorneys’ Fees – ZHOU v. CATERPILLAR FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP.

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Caterpillar filed a complaint for damages and replevin against three defendants. After service on the defendants, they failed to answer, and Caterpillar secured a clerk’s default against them all. Two of the defendants attempted to set aside the default and Caterpillar filed its motion for final judgment based upon the clerk’s default.

The summary judgment and motions to set aside the default were at the same time. The trial court upheld the entry of the clerk’s default and entered final summary judgment in favor of Caterpillar. The final judgment included the award of attorneys’ fees based on an affidavit filed by Caterpillar.

The Fourth DCA found that the defaulted defendants were still entitled to have an opportunity to contest unliquidated damages, like attorneys’ fees.

Zhou v. Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D112a (Fourth DCA Jan 9, 2013)

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