United States District Court, D. Columbia
CHANEEL WALKER, GAIL ALSTON, Plaintiffs: Meredith M. Ralls,
FIRST POINT LAW GROUP, PC, Fairfax, VA.
THOMAS, Defendant, Pro se, Hyattsville, MD.
KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Walker and Gail Alston (" Plaintiffs" ) filed the
Complaint in the above-captioned action on March 27, 2014
against Defendant Lorraine Thomas (" Defendant" ).
See Compl., ECF No. . Presently before the Court
is Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment ("
Motion" ). See ECF No. . For the reasons
stated below, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment.
the second action that Plaintiffs have filed against
Defendant concerning the
allegations raised in Plaintiffs' Complaint. In the first
suit, Plaintiffs sued Defendant and Innovative Concept
Solutions International, Inc. (" ISCI" ), which at
the time was a commercial enterprise owned and operated by
Defendant. Walker v. Innovative Concept Solutions
International (" Walker I " ),
1:12cv02046, Compl. ¶ 15 (Dec. 12, 2012), ECF No. .
The Court dismissed without prejudice the claims against
Defendant for failure to serve the summons and complaint upon
Defendant. See Walker I, Order (May 29, 2013), ECF
No. . As to the claims against ISCI, the Court twice
denied without prejudice Plaintiffs' motions for default
judgment on the basis that Plaintiffs failed to include
evidentiary support for its damages claims. See Walker
I, Order (July 3, 2013), ECF No. , Order (Nov. 27,
2013), ECF No. . When provided the opportunity to file a
third motion for default judgment, Plaintiffs failed to do
so, and the Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims against
ISCI for want of prosecution. See Walker I, Order
(Jan. 13, 2014), ECF No. .
commenced the present action against Defendant on March 27,
2014, approximately two months after the Court's order
dismissing Plaintiffs' claims against ISCI. Plaintiffs
allege that ISCI was as a corporation authorized to do
business under the laws of Maryland, but forfeited its status
in 2001 for failure to pay property taxes. Compl. ¶ 15.
As such, ICSI operated as a sole proprietorship of Defendant,
with Defendant remaining personally liable for the debts and
actions of ICSI. Id. On September 2, 2014, Defendant
filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court
for the District of Maryland in case number 1:1 4-bk-23662.
Pls.' Mem. in Support of Pl.'s Mot. for Relief from
Stay Exhibit 1 (Jan. 2, 2015), ECF No. . Defendant's
bankruptcy petition initially named Plaintiffs, along with
the Department of Labor and this Court, as creditors;
however, on September 16, 2014, Defendant amended her
bankruptcy petition to exclude those parties from her list of
creditors. Id. Exhibits 3-4. On December 22, 2014,
Defendant received a discharge of indebtedness, and the
Bankruptcy Court closed the case. Id. Exhibits 7, 8.
At no time did Defendant seek to add Plaintiffs back to her
list of creditors after filing her Amended Petition.
Id. at 2. Accordingly, Defendant's alleged debts
to Plaintiffs were not discharged. Id.
March 26, 2015, Plaintiffs filed affidavits supporting an
entry of default against Defendant in this matter. ECF No.
, . On March 27, 2015, the Clerk of the Court entered
a default against Defendant. ECF No. . On April 21, 2015,
Plaintiffs filed the present  Motion for Default
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)).
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. ( ...