Post-Trial Matters

Once the trial has concluded, one of two results will have occurred: (a) the court dismissed the lawsuit brought by the plaintiff and no debt is owed; or (b) the court rendered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant for the money owed.

1. Entry of Judgment

In either circumstance, one of the parties to the lawsuits (typically, the winning party) needs to prepare a “Judgment” for the clerk of the court to enter in the court records. Thereafter, there will be a record of the proceedings, evidenced by the Judgment.

2. Payment of Judgment Amount

Either before the Judgment is entered, or after it is entered, the defendant may choose to pay the amount due. In that case, all of the enforcement proceedings will come to an end and the matter resolved. (Many times, a defendant found liable to the plaintiff by the court will immediately contact the plaintiff to pay the debt so that there is no reflection of a Judgment on the defendant’s credit card, which may affect the person’s credit score.)

3. Appeals

If a party to the action believes that the trial judge made an error, the party may file a Notice of Appeal within thirty days after the service of “Notice of Entry” of the Order or Judgment. The filing of an appeal preserves the right of the party to appeal the case to an appellate court. Afterwards, it will be incumbent upon the party (now referred to as the “Appellant”) to order the transcript of the court proceedings, assemble the relevant exhibits, and “perfect” the appeal by filing the record and an appellant’s brief with the appellate court.

4. Stays

The losing party has the right to request, in conjunction with the appeal of the case, that the court grant a “stay” of the enforcement of the Order or Judgment. The request for a “stay” is basically a request for the court to put up a stop sign from anyone taking any actions on the Order or Judgment. Generally, in credit card cases, the only way to obtain the stay is by posting an undertaking or bond in the amount of the Judgment.

5. Vacating a Default Judgment

If the defendant fails to appear in court, either to answer the initial Summons or misses one of the court hearing dates, a “default” will be entered by the court. That will give the plaintiff the right to enter a Judgment against the defendant. Once that happens, the defaulting party must file a motion called an Order to Show Cause to Vacate Default Judgment. The party will have to prove (a) that there was an excusable default for not answering or responding to the case; and (b) there is otherwise a meritorious defense to the case.

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