Default - Failure to Attend Pretrial Conference

C. L. Smith Auto Sales v. Bulger, [Ms. 2170091, May 11, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2018). This unanimous decision by Presiding Judge Thompson reverses a default judgment entered by the Autauga Circuit Court. The court concluded that the circuit court abused its discretion in entering the default judgment because “there is no evidence in the record to support a determination that the defendants’ failure to attend the pretrial conference was a ‘conscious or intentional failure to act.’ Smith v. Davidson, 58 So. 3d [177, 182] (Ala. Civ. App. 2010)]. Based on our review of the record, we find no clear record of delay, willful default, or contumacious conduct by the defendants. In other words, we find no evidence that the defendants’ failure to attend the pretrial conference constitutes the ‘extreme circumstances’ that warrant the ‘harsh sanction’ of a default judgment against them.” Ms. *13, quoting Gill v. Coburn, 36 So. 3d 31, 33 (Ala. 2009).

The court observed that a Leisa Smith appeared on behalf of the defendants at a mediation and noted that “she could not properly represent C. L. Smith Auto Sales, LLC, during the mediation” because she was not a licensed attorney. Ms. *2, n. 1.


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