The trial court found that Cash Store had not presented a prima facie defense to Ms
To establish a prima facie defense, the affidavits submitted to support vacation of a default judgment must precisely set out the facts or errors constituting a defense and cannot rely merely on allegations and conclusions. Shepard, 95 Wash.App. at 239, 974 P.2d 1275; see also CR 60(e)(1). Mr. Ahlberg stated that he had “no way of verifying” who allegedly made harassing comments to Ms. Johnson, and that discovery was necessary to address this issue. CP at 83. Ms. Johnson alleged that an unidentified male Cash Store employee called her at the end of . Cash Store could have submitted affidavits from the male employees working during this time period at its Pines Road store. Any discovery needed was within its own organization. At best, Cash Store presented sufficient evidence of a prima facie defense solely to the claim that its loans violate RCW and the CPA.
Considering the fact that Cash Store’s consumer loan agreements appear to comply with RCW 31
Johnson’s complaint. on their faces, we find that the trial court based this aspect of its decision on untenable grounds. See Hwang v. McMahill, 103 Wash.App. 945, 949-50, 15 P.3d 172 (2000). Consequently, we must next examine Cash Store’s reasons for failing to appear and answer. White, 73 Wash.2d at 352-53, 438 P.2d 581.
In her affidavit in support of the motion to vacate the default judgment, Ms. Fish stated that she received the summons and complaint on . Because the only legal documents she had ever received were bankruptcy notices from customers, she claimed she was not familiar with the documents associated with lawsuits. After briefly reviewing the document headings, she assumed they related to a bankruptcy. She reported that she called Ms. Johnson’s attorney’s office, but could not remember whether she talked to anyone. She then sent back the summons and complaint in separate envelopes, each with a note attached explaining that Ms. Johnson was no longer a customer and had paid her balance in full. Because she thought the documents were irrelevant to Cash Store business, she explained, she never informed the company’s administration or its legal counsel that she had received them. Ms. Fish failed to mention why she did not respond to the notice of the default hearing and the record does not indicate what she did with that notice.
Generally a default judgment is proper when the adversary process has been halted because of an essentially unresponsive party. Norton, 99 Wash.App. at 126, 992 P.2d 1019. If a company fails to respond to a complaint because someone other than general counsel accepted service of process and then neglected to forward the complaint, the company’s failure to respond is deemed due to inexcusable neglect. Prest v. Am. Bankers Life Assurance Co., 79 Wash.App. 93, 100, 900 P.2d 595 (1995). Cash Store has never argued that service was improperly made on Ms. Fish, the store manager. See RCW 4.(10) (service of process on “any agent” of a foreign corporation doing business in this state). Ms. Fish admitted that she read at least some portion of both the https://www.installmentloansgroup.com/payday-loans-mi/ summons and complaint documents. The heading on the complaint clearly stated “COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES” and paragraph 1.2 on that page alleged that Cash Store “is engaged in the business of regularly extending consumer credit at an outrageous interest rate to low income, unsophisticated and desperate individuals.” CP at 3. Anyone as familiar with bankruptcy documents as Ms. Fish claimed to be would recognize immediately that Ms. Johnson’s complaint did not concern bankruptcy proceedings.