Set Aside Judgment Based Upon Extrinsic Mistake in California

To set aside a judgment based upon extrinsic mistake, three elements must be satisfied. (Rappleyea v. Campbell (1994) 8 Cal.4th 975, 982 (Rappleyea).) First, the party seeking relief must establish a meritorious defense. (Ibid.) Second, the defaulted party must articulate a satisfactory excuse for not presenting a defense to the original action. (Ibid.) Finally, the moving party must demonstrate diligence in seeking to set aside the default once it was discovered. (Ibid.; see also Stiles v. Wallis (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 1143, 1147-1148.) Where a motion for relief from default is filed after the six-month statutory deadline set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure section 473, the only possible basis for relief is the inherent, equitable power of the court to set aside a judgment on the ground of extrinsic fraud or mistake. (Olivera v. Grace (1942) 19 Cal.2d 570, 578; Sporn v. Home Depot USA, Inc. (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 1294, 1300.) "Extrinsic mistake exists when the ground for relief is not so much the fraud or other misconduct of one of the parties as it is the excusable neglect of the defaulting party to appear and present his claim or defense.If such neglect results in an unjust judgment--one entered without a fair adversary hearing--the defaulted party may have a basis for equitable relief. " (Cruz v. Fagor America, Inc. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 488, 503.) However, equitable relief is unavailable if the defaulted party has been given notice of the action yet fails to appear, without having been prevented from participating in the action. (Kulchar v. Kulchar (1969) 1 Cal.3d 467, 471.)