United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Accurate Tree and Landscaping Services sued CDAG
International for breach of contract. As Defendant has never
appeared despite proper service, the Clerk entered a default
against it. Accurate now moves for default judgment. Although
it has taken Plaintiff some time to file sufficient
pleadings, the Court will grant the Motion here.
determination of whether a default judgment is appropriate is
“committed to the sound discretion of the trial
court.” Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d 831, 835
(D.C. Cir. 1980) (citations omitted). A default judgment may
enter where a defendant is “totally unresponsive,
” and its default is plainly willful, as reflected by
its failure to respond to the summons and complaint, the
entry of default, or the motion for default judgment. See
Gutierrez v. Berg Contracting Inc., No. 99-3044, 2000 WL
331721, at *1 (D.D.C. March 20, 2000) (citing
Jackson, 636 F.2d at 836). Nevertheless,
“[m]odern courts are . . . reluctant to enter and
enforce judgments unwarranted by the facts, ”
Jackson, 636 F.2d at 835, and “a district
court may still deny an application for default judgment
where the allegations of the complaint, even if true, are
legally insufficient to make out a claim.”
Gutierrez, 2000 WL 331721, at *2 (citing Aldabe
v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980)). Once a
default is entered, however, the defendant “is deemed
to admit every well-pleaded allegation in the
complaint.” Adkins v. Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15,
17 (D.D.C. 2001); see Trans World Airlines, Inc. v.
Hughes, 449 F.2d 51, 63 (2d Cir. 1971), rev'd on
other grounds, 409 U.S. 363 (1973); see also
10A Wright & Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. §
2688.1 (4th ed.) (defaulting “defendant has no further
standing to contest the factual allegations of
plaintiff's claim for relief”). If those facts are
sufficient to establish liability, the court then
“make[s] an independent determination of the sum to be
awarded” based upon evidence in the record. See
Adkins, 180 F.Supp.2d at 17.
is no doubt that Defendant has been “totally
unresponsive” and willfully in default in this case.
Indeed, it has had multiple opportunities to respond given
the numerous missteps by Plaintiff. On May 1, 2018, Gary
Null, the owner of Accurate, filed the first Complaint here
and served CDAG on May 9, 2018. See ECF No. 1
(Compl.); ECF No. 3 (Return of Service). After Null amended
the caption of the Complaint to make clear the name of the
entity he was suing, see ECF No. 9 & Minute
Order of Aug. 10, 2018, the Clerk entered default on August
16. See ECF No. 11. When Null moved for default
judgment, however, the Court explained that he was not the
proper Plaintiff since only Accurate was a party to the
contract. See Minute Order of Sept. 25, 2018.
Amended Complaint rectified that error. See ECF No.
15. On Accurate's next attempt at default judgment, the
Court pointed out that no proof of service had ever been
filed. See Minute Order of Dec. 11, 2018. Plaintiff
then filed such proof, see ECF No. 19, but
puzzlingly asked for relief under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), which
had no relevance here in the absence of a judgment.
See Minute Order of Jan. 9, 2019. A new affidavit of
default was subsequently filed, see ECF No. 21, and
entry of default once again granted by the Clerk.
See ECF No. 24. The most current Motion for Default
Judgment is now pending. See ECF No. 25.
this Court's admonitions, see Minute Order of
Sept. 4, 2018, the current Motion again omits the contract
and any affidavit. The Court will nonetheless liberally
incorporate those documents from a prior failed pleading,
see ECF Nos. 13-1 (Affidavit of Gary Null), 13-2
(Subcontract Agreement), though it could once again deny this
Motion for failure to include the necessary documents.
has averred that he entered into the attached contract with
Accurate for $82, 500 and then agreed on an additional $8,
500 and that, despite performing the work, he was never paid.
See Null Aff. at 1. This is sufficient to prove the
existence of a contract, its breach, and the amount owed.
Court will, accordingly, issue an Order granting the Motion