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An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

NO. COA06-1445


Filed: 3 July 2007


     v .                              Mecklenburg County
                                     No. 04CVS11192

    Appeal by defendants from judgment entered 29 July 2005 and orders entered 30 June 2006 and 31 July 2006 by Judge Timothy L. Patti in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 10 May 2007.

    Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Inc., by Kenneth L. Schorr, for plaintiff appellees.

    Miller & Miller, by J. Jerome Miller, for defendant appellants.

    McCULLOUGH, Judge.

    Defendant appeals from a default judgment and two orders of the trial court denying defendants' motion for new hearing on plaintiffs' motion for default judgment, or, in the alternative, motion to set aside the default judgment. We affirm.

    On 24 June 2004, Barbara Michelle Coleman and Scott Joseph Fish (“plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against First Star, Inc., and Nikolai Stassenko (“defendants”) alleging violations of the Truthin Lending Act, the Retail Installment Sales Act, and the Uniform Commercial Code. In addition, the complaint included causes of action based on fraud, conversion, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. All of the allegations were related to the purchase of a used vehicle from First Star, Inc. Defendants did not make a timely response to the complaint, and default was entered by the clerk on 10 September 2004.
    Plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of default judgment and a notice of hearing for 19 January 2005. Defendants filed an untimely answer on 18 January 2005. Then, the trial court entered a default judgment on 29 July 2005.
    On 26 August 2005, defendants filed a motion entitled “Motion for New Hearing on Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment, Or, In the Alternative, Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment.” The trial court issued an order on 30 June 2006 denying defendants' motion and instructing plaintiffs' attorney to prepare an order and submit it for signature. On 31 July 2006, the trial court entered a more detailed order denying defendants' motion.
    Defendants appeal the default judgment and both orders denying defendants' 26 August 2005 motion. By order dated 4 December 2006, this Court dismissed the appeal of the default judgment.
    Defendants contend the trial court abused its discretion in not permitting the case to go forward on its merits. Specifically, defendants assert the trial court erred by not ruling that thedefault judgment was void under Rule 60(b)(4) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants argue the exhibits attached to the complaint clearly show that the federal and state consumer protection laws were not violated by defendants. We disagree.
    The North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure provide “[o]n motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding [because] . . . [t]he judgment is void[.]” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 60(b)(4) (2005). “A Rule 60(b)(4) motion is only proper where a judgment is 'void' as that term is defined by the law.” Burton v. Blanton, 107 N.C. App. 615, 616, 421 S.E.2d 381, 382 (1992). “A judgment will not be deemed void merely for an error in law, fact, or procedure.” Id. “A judgment is void only when the issuing court has no jurisdiction over the parties or subject matter in question or has no authority to render the judgment entered.” Id. “An erroneous judgment, by contrast, is one entered according to proper court procedures and practices but is contrary to the law or involves a misapplication of the law.” Id. at 617, 421 S.E.2d at 383. Whether plaintiff is able to assert a meritorious defense is irrelevant when determining whether a judgment is void.
    An entry of default may be set aside for good cause. Peebles v. Moore, 48 N.C. App. 497, 504, 269 S.E.2d 694, 698 (1980), modified and affirmed, 302 N.C. 351, 275 S.E.2d 833 (1981) (“Inadvertence . . . may constitute good cause[]”; N.C.R. Civ. P. 55(d). However, the mere fact that defendant has a meritoriousdefense does not justify setting aside an entry of default if no good cause for the default is shown. Peebles, 48 N.C. App. at 504, 269 S.E.2d at 698. Similarly, simply having a meritorious defense is not sufficient to set aside a default judgment. Id. at 504, 269 S.E.2d at 698. The law requires something else, such as excusable neglect, to set aside a default judgment on appeal. Id.
    Here, the record on appeal contains a stipulation which states “that process was duly served and that the court had jurisdiction over the parties.” Therefore, the judgment is not void for want of jurisdiction by the trial court. In addition, defendants' brief contains no detail in its argument supporting their assertion that the consumer protection laws were not violated. In reviewing defendants' motion to set aside the entry of default, absent a showing of good cause for default, we need not consider whether or not defendant has a meritorious defense. Similarly, in reviewing defendants' motion to set aside the default judgment, absent a showing of excusable neglect, we need not consider whether defendants have a meritorious defense. Lack of good cause for the former, and lack of excusable neglect for the latter, are fatal to defendants' appeal as to those issues. Therefore, we disagree with defendants.
    Defendants included three other assignments of error in the record on appeal, but we decline to reach these issues. The North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure clearly state “[t]he body of the argument . . . shall contain citations of the authorities upon which the appellant relies.” N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(6). Here, thearguments corresponding to these assignments of error were extremely short and no authorities were cited. Accordingly, they are abandoned.
    Judges BRYANT and STROUD concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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