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Jiang v. New Millennium Concepts Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 11, 2016

LI JIANG, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW MILLENNIUM CONCEPTS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER ENTERING DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT Re: ECF No. 14

          JON S. TIGAR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment, ECF No. 14, which Defendant New Millennium Concepts Inc. (“New Millennium”) has not opposed. The Court will grant the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         In considering a motion for default judgment, the Court takes the factual allegations in the complaint as true, except for those allegations made as to the amount of damages. Geddes v. United Financial Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977). Accordingly, the Court accepts the following allegations as true for the purposes of deciding this motion.

         On September 9, 2015, Defendant New Millennium left a message on Plaintiff’s wife’s voice mail claiming that Plaintiff owed an unpaid debt on an AT&T Wireless account. ECF No. 1 ¶ 7. Plaintiff did not receive a verification of rights notice. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff maintains that he does not have, nor did he ever have, any outstanding debt with AT&T Wireless. Id. ¶ 9. On a subsequent phone call, New Millennium refused to verify the debt owed by Plaintiff, despite Plaintiff’s request that New Millennium do so. Id. ¶ 12-13. Plaintiff contacted AT&T Wireless and confirmed that he had no outstanding debts and no past due or delinquent accounts with AT&T Wireless. Id. ¶ 14.

         On September 25, 2015, Defendant called Plaintiff demanding payment of the alleged debt. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff subsequently mailed and emailed a letter to Defendant demanding verification of the debt and disputing the reporting of the debt under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Id. ¶ 16. In response, Defendant emailed Plaintiff, misrepresenting that it had already responded to Plaintiff’s request for verification and indicating that it would proceed with debt collection activities. Id. ¶ 17. Despite Plaintiff’s request that Defendant communicate with Plaintiff only via mail, Defendant sent another email to Plaintiff on September 29, 2015, continuing collection efforts without providing verification of the debt. Id. ¶ 21. Defendant also made the false representation to Plaintiff that AT&T Wireless was required by federal law to remove consumer information from their system upon selling a customer’s debt to a third party. Id. Defendant reported the alleged debt to the TransUnion credit bureau, but has not informed TransUnion that the alleged debt is disputed. Id. ¶ 22.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff commenced this action on October 13, 2015, asserting violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. and of California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“RFDCPA”), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788, et seq. Id. ¶ 1-10. After nine attempts to effect service with a registered agent of Defendant, ECF No. 6 at 2, Defendant was served with a Summons and Complaint via service on the California Secretary of State. ECF No. 9. Defendant failed to answer the Complaint in a timely manner and has not otherwise appeared. This Court entered default against Defendant on January 15, 2016. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment and a memorandum in support of the motion on February 25, 2016, seeking to recover $10, 787.90 in statutory and actual damages, attorney’s fees, and costs. ECF Nos. 14, 15.

         C. Jurisdiction

         This Court has federal question jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s first cause of action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because Plaintiff’s first count arises under a federal statute. This Court also has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s second cause of action for violations of California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), which provides that “in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy.”

         D. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) grants district courts the authority to enter a default judgment when “a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend . . . .” Whether to enter a default judgment is a discretionary decision to be made by the district court. Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). “Factors which may be considered by courts in exercising discretion as to the entry of a default judgment include: (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).

         II. ...


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