United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CAROLYN K. DELANEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the court is plaintiff Ascentium Capital
LLC's motion for default judgment against defendant Dr.
Rotceh Colon Maldonado. (ECF No. 8.) Defendant failed to file
an opposition to plaintiff's motion in accordance with
Local Rule 230(c). At the hearing on the motion held on
December 18, 2019, plaintiff's counsel appeared
telephonically and defendant did not appear.
background facts are taken from plaintiff's complaint,
unless otherwise noted. (See Plaintiff's
Complaint, ECF No. 1 [“Compl.”].)
2017 plaintiff made a commercial loan to defendant to
purchase a Coolsculpting Device. (Compl. ¶ 7.) Pursuant
to the finance agreement defendant was to make sixty monthly
payments of $3, 334.90, until the loan was satisfied.
(Id.) Defendant stopped making payments on March 1,
2019 and has not made a payment since that date.
(Id. ¶ 9.) On August 7, 2019, plaintiff sent
defendant a letter entitled, “NOTICE OF DEFAULT AND
ACCELERATION” outlining defendant's payments that
were past due, and accelerating the remaining balance to be
due immediately as permitted by the agreement. (Id.
commenced this action on August 27, 2019, alleging only one
count: breach of the finance agreement. (Compl. at 1.)
Defendant was personally served in Puerto Rico on September
7, 2019. Defendant has not answered or appeared. On
October 2, 2019, plaintiff requested an entry of default,
which the Clerk of Court granted the same day. (ECF Nos. 6,
7.) Plaintiff filed the present motion for default judgment
on November 8, 2019. (ECF No. 8.) Following the hearing on
December 18, 2019, the court ordered plaintiff to provide
additional briefing regarding how it reached its damages
calculation, which plaintiff subsequently filed. (ECF Nos.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, default may be entered
against a party against whom a judgment for affirmative
relief is sought who fails to plead or otherwise defend
against the action. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). However,
“[a] defendant's default does not automatically
entitle the plaintiff to a court-ordered judgment.”
PepsiCo, Inc. v. Cal. Sec. Cans, 238 F.Supp.2d 1172,
1174 (C.D. Cal. 2002) (citing Draper v. Coombs, 792
F.2d 915, 924-25 (9th Cir. 1986)). Instead, the decision to
grant or deny an application for default judgment lies within
the district court's sound discretion. Aldabe v.
Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). In making
this determination, the court considers the following
(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
Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir.
1986). Default judgments are ordinarily disfavored.
Id. at 1472.
general rule, once default is entered, well-pleaded factual
allegations in the operative complaint are taken as true,
except for those allegations relating to damages.
TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915,
917-18 (9th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (citing Geddes v.
United Fin. Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977)
(per curiam)); accord Fair Housing of Marin v.
Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 906 (9th Cir. 2002). In addition,
although well-pleaded allegations in the complaint are
admitted by a defendant's failure to respond,
“necessary facts not contained in the pleadings, and
claims which are legally insufficient, are not established by
default.” Cripps v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am.,
980 F.2d 1261, 1267 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Danning v.
Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir. 1978)); accord
DIRECTV, Inc. v. Hoa Huynh, 503 F.3d 847, 854 (9th Cir.
2007) (noting that a defendant does not admit facts that are
not well-pled or conclusions of law); Abney v.
Alameida, 334 F.Supp.2d 1221, 1235 (S.D. Cal. 2004)
(“[A] default judgment may not be entered on a legally
insufficient claim.”). A party's default does not
establish the amount of damages. Geddes, 559 F.2d at
of the Entry of Default Judgment ...