Shriners Hospitals for Children v. Woods

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-03-2016
  • Case #: A155952
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A default judgment cannot be enforced in a later proceeding in the face of a motion to set aside the judgment for lack of personal jurisdiction, which would make the judgment void, regardless of how long after the default judgment the motion is made.

Woods appealed an order that disbursed his money award from a legal malpractice lawsuit to other entities, including Shriners Hospitals for Children (Plaintiffs) for a previous default judgment they obtained against Woods. Woods assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to set aside the default judgment, arguing that failure of service of summons and complaint in the previous case precluded personal jurisdiction over him. The trial court denied Woods’s motion as untimely based on a finding that Woods had actual knowledge of the previous suit against him, but did not make any findings as to whether Woods was personally served. While there is no timeliness requirement for moving to set aside a void judgment, a motion to set aside a valid default judgment must be made within a reasonable time. Under ORCP 7, actual notice of a pending action is not sufficient for adequate notice, so personal service was still required to obtain the default judgment against Woods. Woods’s also cannot be equitably estopped from challenging the default judgment because a void judgment cannot be made valid. As such, the trial court must determine whether or not Woods was personally served in the previous case before continuing with the garnishment proceeding. Vacated and remanded.

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