Cal. Litig. 2021, Volume 34, Number 2

How to Strike the Answer of a Non-Participating Defendant

By Alex J. Behar and Paul A. Traina

Alex J. Behar is a trial lawyer at Panish Shea & Boyle, focusing on litigating catastrophic personal injury, products liability, and wrongful death cases.

Paul A. Traina is a trial lawyer at Panish Shea & Boyle, focusing on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and product defect cases.

A "non-participating defendant" is a person who appears in an action by filing an answer, and is represented by counsel, but does not otherwise engage in the litigation. Non-participating defendant situations often occur in motor vehicle collision cases, but may also arise in breach of contract, family or estate litigation, or premises liability actions in which a defendant, for whatever reason, has little or no incentive to participate. This could be, for example, someone who borrows or rents a car and is then in an accident, a former employee whose conduct causes injury, or a former manager of a property where someone was injured due to a dangerous condition.

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