What is a Judgment Nihil Dicit?

A judgment Nihil Dicit can be granted by a court when a defendant does not file a general denial or adequately contest the Plaintiff’s lawsuit in the Defendant’s answer to the suit. Nihil Dicit is a Latin term that means “he said nothing.”  Essentially, the court can make a determination that the Defendant is not denying the Plaintiff’s allegations or raising any defenses.

Often Defendants will file an answer that essentially admits the Plaintiff’s claims.  For instance, a Defendant may file an answer saying, “I know I owe the money the creditor is suing me for, but I lost my job and cannot pay the debt.  Please dismiss the case, because I am unable to pay.”  This answer does not deny the claim or raise any defenses.  Often, the Plaintiff will use an answer like this to support a motion for judgment Nihil Dicit.  While a judge may be empathetic to a Defendant’s circumstances, they will not be able to dismiss the suit due to inability to pay, and the Plaintiff may be on strong footing to obtain a judgment Nihil Dicit.

Before filing an answer on your own, it is important to consider the legal impact that a wrong answer or pleading can have on a case.