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Trindade v. Reach Media Group, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

July 18, 2014

DAVID TRINDADE, Plaintiff,
v.
REACH MEDIA GROUP, LLC, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING TRINDADE'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT (RE: DKT No. 80)

PAUL S. GREWAL, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is Plaintiff David Trindade's motion for default judgment.[1] Defendant Reach Media Group, LLC has not filed any opposition. Having reviewed the motion and the record, the court GRANTS Trindade's motion for default judgment.[2]

I. BACKGROUND

On September 12, 2012, Trindade filed this suit as a putative class action, alleging that RMG made, or had made on its behalf, unsolicited text message calls to Trindade and the other members of the putative class.[3] The alleged text message calls stated that lenders were offering cash loans and directed recipients to information collection and payday loan offer websites.[4] Trindade alleged that RMG's actions violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and sought injunctive relief, statutory damages, costs and attorney's fees.[5]

On November 1, 2012, RMG filed its answer.[6] RMG admitted that, as part of its business as a "publisher network, " it generated leads "by contracting with third-party publishers to advertise payday loan offers to consumers through text messages."[7] RMG also admitted that it owned two of the websites alleged in the complaint.[8] RMG denied, however, that it generated leads "by making text message calls or having them made on its behalf to drive consumers to information collection websites and payday loan offers" or that it made, or had made on its behalf, the alleged text message calls.[9]

On November 15, 2012, RMG filed a cross-complaint against third-party Defendants Ryan Lenahan, Kyle Danna and Eagle Web Assets Inc. alleging that the third-party Defendants contracted with RMG as third-party publishers and subsequently edited the content of text message advertisements designed by RMG in violation of their contracts.[10] RMG alleged that the third-party Defendants therefore were required to indemnify RMG against any claims arising from breach of their contracts.[11] RMG's concurrent responses to Trindade's interrogatories were consistent with these allegations.[12] All of RMG's claims against the third-party defendants, however, were eventually dropped. The court dismissed all of the claims against Danna with leave to amend for lack of personal jurisdiction.[13] The court also dismissed the breach of contract, breach of warranty, tortious interference with contractual relations and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage claims against Lenahan with leave to amend.[14] RMG then filed notice of its intent not to file an amended third-party complaint and not to serve Eagle Web Assets Inc., [15] as well as a stipulation to the dismissal of all of its claims against Lenahan.[16]

On November 8, 2013, the court granted RMG's counsel leave to withdraw as counsel of record.[17] In the interim, RMG has not actively litigated this case - for example, RMG has not responded to Trindade's discovery requests or filed anything on the docket.[18] On January 27, 2014, the Clerk entered default pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a) against RMG.[19] Trindade now seeks entry of default judgment only as to his individual claim.[20]

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

After entry of default, district courts are authorized to enter default judgment, so long as the judgment does not "differ in kind from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded in the pleadings."[21] Entry of default judgment is discretionary.[22] To determine whether default judgment is warranted, the court balances the Eitel factors: "(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 underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits."[23]

III. DISCUSSION

A. The Eitel Factors

1. Potential Prejudice to Trindade

The first Eitel factor considers potential prejudice to Trindade. If the court does not grant Trindade's motion for default judgment, ...


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