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Conecciones Agricolas S. De Rl De Cv v. Organic Alliance, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 14, 2014

CONECCIONES AGRICOLAS S. DE R.L. DE C. V. a Mexican Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
ORGANIC ALLIANCE, INC., a California Corporation, and PARKER BOOTH, an individual, Defendants.

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.

The matter before the Court is the Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Defendants Organic Alliance, Inc. and Parker Booth filed by Plaintiff Conecciones Agricolas S. De R.L. De C.V. (ECF No. 5).

I. Background

On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing the Complaint against Defendants. (ECF No. 1). On December 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed a proof of service for both Organic Alliance, Inc. and Parker Booth. (ECF Nos. 3, 4). The proofs of service state that Justin Premo personally served both Organic Alliance, Inc. and Parker Booth on November 22, 2013 at 19543 Cortina Ct., Salinas, California 93908. Id. Defendant did not file an answer or otherwise appear in the case.

On December 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Request for Clerk's Entry of Default against the Defendants. (ECF No. 5). On January 16, 2014, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendants. (ECF No. 6). On February 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Defendants. (ECF No. 7).

II. Allegations of the Complaint

In July of 2012, Defendants "entered into a Distribution Agreement" with Plaintiff. (ECF No. 1 at 3 ¶ 9). "Plaintiff agreed to ship its produce, specifically grape and roma tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans to Defendants for [delivery and] sale in the United States." Id. "Defendants... agreed to buy Plaintiff's produce, thirty percent (30%) at set prices and seventy percent (70%) on commissions. Defendants were to take delivery, sell the produce, and remit the proceeds to Plaintiff, minus ten percent (10%) commission." Id. ¶ 10. "Defendant[s]... purchased Plaintiff's and/or accepted and sold Plaintiff's product on commission, but... failed to remit $134, 440.00 in sales proceeds in violation of the... [Distribution Agreement]." Id. ¶ 14.

Plaintiff asserts six claims as follows: (1) breach of contract; (2) violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act ("PACA"), 7 U.S.C. § 499(b); (3) breach of fiduciary duty; (4) goods had and received; (5) unjust enrichment; and (6) conversion. (ECF No. 1).

III. Ruling of the Court

A. Default Judgment

Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the Clerk of the Court enter default "when a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a).

Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the court may grant a default judgment after default has been entered by the Clerk of the Court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). The Ninth Circuit has articulated the following factors for courts to consider in determining whether a default judgment should be granted:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim, (3) the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts; (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the strong policy ...

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