Defaulted malpractice attorney-defendant cannot overturn default
Timothy Elling sued Samuel Ragnone, alleging that Ragnone's legal malpractice in the managment of his legal claim led to the dismissal of his legitimate lawsuit. Ragnone had moved to Colorado, but left a Michigan address with the State Bar. Elling obtained the court's approval for serviing Ragnone by e-mail with notice of the lawsuit and the parties engaged in what appeared to be settlement negotiations. After about 11 months, however, they had not achieved agreement and the Court threatened to dismiss the claim for failure to progress. The plaintiff delivered a warning to Ragnone of his need to answer the suit and Ragnone promised an answer by Monday. When it wasn't filed, Elling's attorneys defaulted Ragnone. On appeal the Court upheld the entry of the default, finding that Ragnone had not provided an adequate excuse for failing to answer the Complaint on a timely basis.