Shepard Claims Service, Inc. v. William Darrah & Associates

796 F.2d 190 (Sixth Cir. 1986)


Shepard (P) filed a breach of contract action against William Darrah & Associates (D) in that D failed to pay P for services rendered. D's attorney's secretary secured a telephone extension of time for filing an answer. A confirmation letter was drafted and signed by the secretary. By April 10th D had filed no answer, and P requested the clerk enter a default. D then filed a notice of retention with an answer and a notice of affirmative defenses, a counterclaim, interrogatories and a request for production of documents on April 26th. On May 1, D filed a response to P's motion for a default judgment and a motion to set aside the judgment under Rule 55(c). The court denied D's motion to set aside the default and found that D's attorney engaged in culpable conduct when he permitted his secretary to make arrangements for the extension and then failed to review his secretary's letter upon returning from vacation. The issue was certified for interlocutory appeal.