My question involves court procedures for the state of: Oregon
We have a small claims case against our former landlord, who we claim did not provide accounting for our security deposit and prepaid rent, nor returned the balances, within the 31 days provided by statute. We believe we have a strong case to support our claim.
We attempted to first negotiate, and then filed the claim. The landlord was properly served.
The landlord failed to respond to the service. We filed a motion for default judgement, and it was granted by the court.
We sent a letter requesting payment for the judgment. The landlord responded saying we needed to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement or they would file for relief from the default judgment. We responded saying we were open to receiving a settlement offer from them (we did not state we would settle).
The landlord filed a motion for relief from the default judgement anyway (we believe before we responded to them). It was granted by the court. If it matters, the motion was granted by a "Circuit Court Judge - Pro Tem".
Question: Should we have been notified of the motion and offered an opportunity to argue against the motion, or not? We were not notified, the court just granted it and we received a notice that a new document was filed for the case, a copy of the landlord's new response denying our claim, and a notice to appear at a scheduled mediation session.
We obtained a copy of their motion for relief. It offered a minimal explanation saying "We recently realized that our office made a big mistake about the response and hearing for case #XXXXXX. We would like to file a motion to set aside the default judgment." ORCP 71 & 21 seem to require motions such as this to provide more specifics than that, but I have had little success trying to research this.
Question: Is that all that is needed to get a default judgment set aside? Shouldn't they have to justify the "big mistake" in some way? Was the judge very lenient, or is this the norm?
Main Question: Is it worthwhile to file a motion to reconsider the decision to set aside the default judgment? Or should we just move to the mediation session, and perhaps further to a hearing?
I've been researching that motions to reconsider are rarely used to say the judge made a mistake interpreting rules/statutes, usually they are used only if new information has become available since the ruling. I don't want to waste the court's time or prejudice our position in this case, but I want to make sure the landlord is not let off the hook too easily either. They have been screwing around with us for many months now, I believe trying to wear us down and force us to settle or give up.
Any thoughts or pointers to advice much appreciated!