I had my preanswer Motion to Dismiss ready about a month ago, but never heard back from my Motion for an extension of time, so I thought the case was closed. Wrong! Somehow the plaintiff's attorney got the too busy judge to wake up and render a judgement.
In re-reading the opening paragraph of your post, I am even MORE ALARMED, because your wording gives two indications that you really fail to understand some basics of civil litigation.
First, you state that you "never heard back from my Motion for an extension of time". This seems to reflect a very common misconception by legal novices. Those first starting out seem to think that they can file a motion and that a court will simply RULE ON IT.
While this is sometimes true in appellate practice, where essentially all motions are determined by submission and without hearing, and MIGHT BE TRUE in some jurisdictions where a local rule provides for determination of motions by submission, it it NOT ordinarily the case in most places.
To the contrary, you can file all of the motions you like, but if you fail to SET THE MOTION FOR A HEARING, then the motion is often NEVER considered or actually decided.
In respect of a motion to enlarge or a motion to file something out of time, the state equivalent of Federal Rule 6(b), if you MISSED A DEADLINE, then in most places it is incumbent upon YOU to (a) make a motion for enlargement of the time, (b) support the motion by affidavit and/or other evidence and (c) set the motion for determination by hearing or submission.
If you FAIL TO DO THIS, then the motion is NEVER considered. And if you are asking for more time, then you need to ACT WITH DILIGENCE. If you move for more time and never set the matter for hearing, the motion is usually DOA.
Even MORE ALARMING is your assertion "Somehow the plaintiff's attorney got the too busy judge to wake up and render a judgement." Unless you have made a poor choice of words, your case is already OVER. First, it seems that you ASSUME that the Judge is too busy to rule on your motion, when actually the problem is likely to be failing to set the matter for hearing. If you were standing in front of the Judge arguing your motion, the Court very likely would have handed down an oral decision on the spot and probably signed the order if you had it ready.
The TIME to file a Motion To Dismiss is while the case is pending and WITHIN THE TIME ALOTTED TO ANSWER OR RESPOND. If you MISSED that deadline, and the court already entered a final judgment (in New York State, very often an order of reference, appointing a referee), then you have ALREADY LOST YOUR CASE.
If a judgment has been entered against you, particularly by default for having FAILED TO TIMELY ANSWER, then the wording of your Motion To Dismiss (MTD) is wholly irrelevant.
You may have achieved the functional equivalent of failing to show up for a game while waiting for your uniforms to be pressed, calling ahead and telling the umpire you wanted him to DELAY THE START OF THE GAME and then stopping for a move on the way from the dry cleaners. You arrive AFTER the umpire has awarded the game to the opposing team, the opposing team has left the field and the stadium and everyone in the bleachers has gone home.
Now, you are going to complain that the Umpire should rescind the no-show default loss, call everone back to the stadium and re-schedule the game at your convenience, so everyone can watch you play in a pressed uniform. Baseball and law doesn't usually work that way.
Often, 90% of success is just showing up.
It is almost impossible to successfully appeal a default judgment, except in cases of defective service. Where you have already filed documents with the Court, but these were poorly conceived or ineffective, you have little hope of persuading the Court that you DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT the case.
One reason you can rarely win an appeal on a default (almost anywhere) is that most appellate courts will only consider on appeal the arguments you already MADE to the trial court. WHEN YOU FAIL TO ANSWER, YOU DIDN'T MAKE ANY ARGUMENTS AND IN MOST PLACES ALMOST ALL ARGUMENTS ARE THEREFORE WAIVED. When you WAIVE all your arguments, then there is usually nothing to appeal.
There ARE some valid means to have judgments set aside. It is NOT easy to do so.
IF YOU MISSED YOUR FILING DEADLINES AND TOOK YOUR TIME CRAFTING A MTD WHEN YOU WERE ALREADY OUT OF TIME AND/OR IF A JUDGMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN ENTERED AGAINST YOU, YOU NEED TO GET OVER YOUR FANTASY THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DEFENDING YOURSELF PRO SE AND GET AN ATTORNEY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. YOU NEED TO AT LEAST SPEAK TO AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY!
Ironically, the motion formatting issue identified by the Clerk seems to be intended to help parties AVOID the filing of motions WITHOUT setting the matter for hearing. This rule and/or practice standard was no doubt adopted for a reason and FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION.