Carrel v. Serco Inc.Annotate this Case
Devin Witt allegedly drove a pickup truck over Benjamin Carrel’s foot in a parking lot in Beatrice, Nebraska. The truck was registered to Serco, Inc. Carrel brought a personal injury action against Serco and Witt. When Serco did not respond to a service of summons, a show cause order, or notice of Carrel’s motion for a default judgment, the district court entered a default judgment against Serco. The district court denied Serco’s motion to vacate the default judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in denying Serco’s motion to vacate the default judgment, holding that, where Serco placed Carrel on notice of its meritorious defense that it did not employ Witt or own the vehicle he was driving at the time of the incident and where any negligence on the part of Serco in responding to the suit was excusable, permitting the default judgment to stand would unfairly deprive Serco of a substantial right and produce an unjust result. Remanded with directions to vacate the default judgment and to give Serco a reasonable time in which to file an appropriate responsive pleading.