Hoff v. Lake County Abstract & Title Co., et al.

Gary Hoff filed a complaint alleging contract and negligence claims against Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. and Lake County Abstract & Title Company. Countrywide failed to appear or answer within the 20 days permitted by Mont. R. Civ. P. 12(a), after which Hoff moved for entry of default against Countrywide. Countrywide later attempted to reverse the default proceedings with a motion to set aside the default pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 55(c) and then a Mont. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to set aside the entry of default for mistake or excusable neglect. The court denied the motions and entered a default judgment against Countrywide. Countrywide appealed and Hoff cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in its judgment against Countrywide because pursuant to Cribb v. Matlock Commc'n, Inc., good cause did not exist to set aside the entry of default, and (2) the district court did not err as Countrywide's 60(b) motion was procedurally defective. Lastly, the Court concluded the district court correctly denied Hoff's request for attorneys fees because the contract did not entitle either party to attorneys fees under the circumstances.