United States District Court, C.D. California
Attorneys for Plaintiffs: Not Present.
Attorneys for Defendants: Not Present.
DALE S. FISCHER, United States District Judge.
Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order GRANTING Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment (Docket No. 20)
American General Life Insurance Company (American) requests default judgment against Defendant Johny Johnson. Specifically, American seeks a declaration that a $240, 000 life insurance policy issued by American on behalf of Johnson is " null, void, and rescinded ab initio ." (Compl. at 5.)
According to American, " Johnson made misrepresentations of material fact, concealed material facts, and/or otherwise failed to accurately, honestly, and/or truthfully answer and disclose material information in response to the questions presented on the Application regarding his health and medical history." (Id. ¶ 16.) Pursuant to this Court's February 5, 2015 order, American supplemented these allegations with under seal submissions that disclosed the particular misrepresentations alleged in American's Complaint. (w Dkt. No. 26.) These submissions support American's claim that Johnson made multiple material misrepresentations on his life insurance policy application. Based on Johnson's material misrepresentations, American requests that the Court rescind the resulting life insurance policy ab initio.
Johnson has not responded to the Complaint or otherwise appeared or participated in this litigation. The Clerk properly entered default against Johnson on December 2, 2014. (Dkt. No. 18.)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Rule 55(b)(2) permits the Court to enter a default judgment. The Court need not make detailed findings of fact in the event of default. See Adriana Int'l Corp. v. Thoeren, 913 F.2d 1406, 1414 (9th Cir. 1990). On entry of a default, well-pled allegations in the complaint regarding liability are generally deemed to be admitted. See DIRECTV, Inc. v. Hoa Huynh, 503 F.3d 847, 851 (9th Cir. 2007). Allegations as to damages, however, must be proven. See TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915, 917 (9th Cir. 1987).
The Court may consider several factors " in exercising discretion as to the entry of a default judgment includ[ing]: (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." Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986).
A. The Eitel Factors Weigh in Favor of Granting Default Judgment
The Eitel factors weigh in favor of granting default judgment against Johnson. American would be prejudiced by a denial of its motion for default judgment. Johnson cannot escape liability by refusing to participate in the judicial process ...