(a) In any action or proceeding commenced in any court, if there shall be a default of any appearance by the defendant, the plaintiff, before entering judgment shall file in the court a declaration under penalty of perjury setting forth facts showing that the defendant is not in the military service. If unable to file that declaration, the plaintiff shall, in lieu thereof, file a declaration setting forth either that the defendant is in the service or that the plaintiff is not able to determine whether or not the defendant is in the service. If a declaration is not filed showing that the defendant is not in the military service, no judgment shall be entered without first securing an order of court directing that entry, and no order shall be made if the defendant is in the military service until after the court appoints an attorney to represent the defendant and protect his or her interest, and the court shall, on application, make that appointment. Unless it appears that the defendant is not in the military service the court may require, as a condition before judgment is entered, that the plaintiff file a bond approved by the court conditioned to indemnify the defendant, if in the military service, against any loss or damage that he or she may suffer by reason of any judgment should the judgment be thereafter set aside in whole or in part. The court may make such other and further order or enter that judgment as in its opinion may be necessary to protect the rights of the defendant under this section.
(b) Any person who shall, for purposes of this section, make or use a declaration declared to be true under penalty of perjury, knowing it to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by imprisonment not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. That person also is liable for actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs incurred by the injured party.
(c) In any action or proceeding in which a service member is a party, if the service member does not personally appear therein or is not represented by an authorized attorney, the court may appoint an attorney to represent him or her. In that case a bond may be required and an order made to protect the rights of the service member. However, no attorney appointed under this chapter to protect a service member shall have the power to waive any right of the person for whom he or she is appointed or bind him or her by his or her acts.
(d) If any judgment shall be rendered in any action or proceeding governed by this chapter against any service member during the period of that service or within 30 days thereafter, and it appears that the service member was prejudiced by reason of his or her military service in making his or her defense thereto, the judgment may, upon application made by the service member or his or her legal representative not later than 90 days after the termination of the service, be opened by the court rendering the same and the defendant or his or her legal representative let in to defend; provided the application states a meritorious or legal defense to the action or some part thereof. Vacating, setting aside, or reversing any judgment by reason of this chapter shall not impair any right or title acquired by any bona fide purchaser for value under that judgment.
(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 385, Sec. 2. (AB 2365) Effective January 1, 2011.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018