Are you using the JIRA Misc Workflow Extentions plugin to do this. If so, this is how the default user is calculated.
Since JIRA does not support the notion of a default member for project roles, the Assign to role member function identifies the default member of a project role by going through all the members of the project role looking for a User Property with the following two characteristics:
- Property key: defaultAssignee
- Property value: contains a comma-separated list of entries in the form ProjectKey -> *RoleName. *For example:
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