ORCP 7C(2) (Time for response)

The rule requires that “the defendant shall appear and defend within 30 days from the date of service.” There might be a small grace period for tardy defendants here, based on Reeder et al v. Marshall, Admix, 214 Or 154, 155, 328 P2d 773 (1958). There, defendant failed to file an “answer, appearance, or pleading” during the time period required of him by the summons and statute. The plaintiff filed a motion for default on March 28 and, on March 30, the defendant filed an answer. Id., 214 Or. at 155. On April 14, the trial court filed an order of default. Id. The Oregon Supreme Court, reversing the trial court, stated that even though the defendant’s answer was filed after the time period specified by summons and statute, the defendant was not in default because the response was filed prior to the entry of the order of default.

If you are representing a defendant and it appears that the response time has run, make sure that the plaintiff’s attorney has obtained an order of default before assuming that your client is in default.

Similarly, plaintiff’s counsel should follow through and obtain an order of default to close this small loophole.