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Walker v. Innovative Concept Solutions Int'l, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 27, 2013

CHANEEL WALKER and GAIL ALSTON, Plaintiffs,
v.
INNOVATIVE CONCEPT SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL, INC. et al., Defendants

For CHANEEL WALKER, GAIL ALSTON, Plaintiffs: Nida Hasan, FIRST POINT LAW GROUP, PC, Fairfax, VA.

OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Page 53

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Chaneel Walker and Gail Alston (" Plaintiffs" ) filed the Complaint in the above-captioned action on December 20, 2012, against Defendants Innovative Concept Solutions International, Inc. (" ICSI" ) and Lorraine Thomas (" Thomas" ). See Compl., ECF No. [1]. By Order dated May 29, 2013, the Court dismissed without prejudice Plaintiffs' claims against Thomas, leaving only Plaintiffs' claims against ICSI. See Order (May 29, 2013), ECF No. [13]. On June 18, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Default Judgment on the basis that ICSI had not answered Plaintiffs' Complaint nor appeared in court. In an Order entered July 3, 2013, the Court denied without prejudice Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment on the basis that Plaintiffs failed to specify each element of damages, or the monetary amount thereof, that Plaintiffs claimed to be entitled to recover from ICSI, and failed to include evidentiary support for its damages claims. See Order (July 3, 2013), ECF No. [18]. Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Default Judgment. See ECF No. [19]. For the reasons stated below, the Court again DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Default Judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

On June 18, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an initial Motion for Default Judgment. See ECF No. [17]. Plaintiffs' Motion did not specify each element of damages, or the monetary amount thereof, that Plaintiffs claimed to be entitled to recover from ICSI, nor did it include evidentiary support for its damages claims. The Court

Page 54

noted that although Plaintiffs' Complaint attached as exhibits what appeared to be documents supporting some of their claims, Plaintiffs' Motion made no effort to tie those documents to any legal arguments to support their claims. As the Court had insufficient information on which to make an independent determination of the sum to be awarded, the Court denied without prejudice Plaintiffs' Motion. See Order (July 3, 2013), ECF No. [18]. In its Order denying Plaintiffs' Motion, the Court also expressed concern over whether ICSI presently exists as a corporate entity against whom Plaintiffs may obtain relief. The Court noted that Plaintiffs' Complaint stated that ICSI's status as a stock corporation had been forfeited by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. The Court requested Plaintiffs provide additional information about the corporate status of ICSI and confirm that ICSI was not presently in bankruptcy proceedings. Finally, the Court requested Plaintiffs provide documentary proof that Victor Mbakpuo, whom Plaintiffs represent is the registered agent for ICSI, is, in fact ICSI's registered agent.

On July 31, 2013, Plaintiffs filed the present [19] Amended Motion for Default Judgment.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) provides that the Clerk of the Court must enter a party's request for a default " [w]hen 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). After a default has been entered by the Clerk, a party may move the court for a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). " The determination of whether default judgment is appropriate is committed to the discretion of the trial court." Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. Auxier Drywall, LLC, 531 F.Supp.2d 56, 57 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d 831, 836, 205 U.S.App. D.C. 84 (D.C. Cir. 1980)).

Upon entry of default by the clerk of the court, the " defaulting defendant is deemed to admit every well-pleaded allegation in the complaint." Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. R.W. Amrine Drywall Co. Inc., 239 F.Supp.2d 26, 30 (D.D.C. 2002) (internal citation omitted). " Although the default establishes a defendant's liability, the court is required to make an independent determination of the sum to be awarded unless the amount of damages is certain." Id. (citing Adkins v. Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001)). Accordingly, when moving for a default judgment, the plaintiff must prove its entitlement to the amount of monetary damages requested. Id. " In ruling on such a motion, the court may rely on detailed affidavits ...


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