California Federal Court Reverses Entry of Default Judgment for Medical Practice
May 10, 2019 (Napa, CA) – When a California medical practice retained David R. Johanson of Hawkins Parnell & Young, its prior lawyers had withdrawn from a federal case, leaving the medical practice unrepresented and unable to defend itself from a former employee’s fiduciary misconduct allegations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. (“ERISA”). The Court ordered the medical practice to retain new counsel, but despite diligent efforts, the medical practice’s request for representation was turned down by thirteen law firms. After the court clerk entered a default against the medical practice and the Court set a hearing to enter a default judgment, Hawkins Parnell agreed to defend the medical practice.
Assisted by Robert S. Thompson and Douglas A. Rubel, David filed a motion to set aside the entry of default judgment. Although the former employee’s counsel opposed the motion, the Court, after a hearing, set aside the clerk’s entry of default, ruling that “Given the strong policy in favor of adjudicating cases on their merits, default judgment against Hampton is unwarranted.” It took Hawkins Parnell less than two weeks to achieve this victory for the corporate client.
Parsazadeh v. Hampton Health, LTD., et al., Civil Action 3:18-cv-05008-VC, Docket No. 46 (United States District Court for the Northern District of California)