NPR ran a story about the judgment against Alex Jones by parents of Sandy Hook victims.

Below is an excerpt (emphasis mine)

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin, home of Infowars, entered default judgments against Jones, Infowars and other defendants for what she called their "flagrant bad faith and callous disregard" of court orders to turn over documents to the parents' lawyers. The rulings were issued on Monday and released on Thursday.

What is a default judgment? I originally thought it was a default judgment if one party didn't show up to the court date, but the rest of the article makes clear Alex Jones and his lawyers were present.

What does "default judgments" mean in the circumstance? What other kinds of judgments were possible?

1 Answer 1


A default judgment is a judgment in favor of a party when the opposing party has failed to do something that is required, such as appear before the court. In this instance, defendant's failure was to provide court-ordered documents. See Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b) for various failures to to comply with a court order. Failure to appear in court is just one of the failures to comply that can lead to default judgment.

  • 7
    It should also be noted that the court has numerous less severe options than issuing a default against the disobedient party (which are listed in the linked rule). The linked NPR story mentions that the judge actually tried to use such remedies first, and they were ineffective at getting the defendants to cooperate. The moral of this story: Save the grandstanding for the media, and follow the judge's orders when you are in court.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 8:09
  • 18
    @Kevin I suspect in this case it was a deliberate choice. He likely had an unwinnable case. By refusing to participate in the process, he can now claim that justice has not been properly served (presumably because the case was not decided on the merits). For someone whose business model is lies and spin, it probably seemed like a good strategy.
    – JBentley
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 14:48
  • 6
    @JBentley I believe that the proper response here is "That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see how it works out for him." Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 17:13

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