Shepard Claims Service, Inc. v. William Darrah & Associates
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
796 F.2d 190 (6th Cir. 1986)
Shepard Claims Service, Inc. (Shepard) (plaintiff) field suit against William Darrah & Associates (Darrah) (defendant). Darrah was served on February 7, 1985. On February 22, 1985, Darrah’s attorney’s secretary got an extension of time for filing an answer because the attorney was on vacation. The secretary sent a confirmation letter on behalf of the attorney (with the attorney’s permission) confirming that the attorney had been granted 45 days from February 22, 1985 to answer the Shepard complaint. Darrah’s attorney had actually meant to receive an extension of 45 days counting from the end of the normal 30-day period allowed for an answer (March 9). The attorney did not review the secretary’s letter until much later. When the defendant had not filed an answer on April 10—45 days after February 22—because the attorney thought he had more time, Shepard requested and the court clerk entered Darrah’s default. Darrah subsequently filed an answer complete with affirmative defenses and counterclaims. The district court denied Darrah’s motion to set aside entry of default and certified the case for an interlocutory appeal to determine whether the entry of default should be set aside.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lively, C.J.)