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Pro Star Logistics Inc. v. An Enterprise

United States District Court, D. Utah

April 11, 2018

PRO STAR LOGISTICS INC., a Utah Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
AN ENTERPRISE, an Illinois Corporation, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ENTERING DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          Ted Stewart United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Pro Star Logistics' (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Entry of Default pursuant to Rule 55(a). For the reasons stated below, the Court will enter default judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant AN Enterprise (“Defendant”) for breach of contract in the Third Judicial District Court of Utah. On May 31, 2017, Defendant removed the action to this United States District Court. Defendant subsequently filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue or for change of venue. The Court denied the motion on November 28, 2017.

         On January 9, 2018, Defendant's counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel. The Court granted the motion on January 11, 2018, and ordered “that AN Enterprise or its new counsel must file a Notice of Appearance within twenty-one (21) days after entry of this Order.”[1]The January 11 Order further stated that Defendant's failure to file a Notice of Substitution of Counsel or Notice of Appearance as instructed, may result in an issuance of sanctions “pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(f)(1), including but not limited to dismissal or default judgment.”[2]

         Defendant failed to comply with the Court's Order and the time for doing so has long since expired. On March 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Motion now before the Court for entry of default under Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the basis that Defendant failed to “[a]nswer the Complaint or otherwise appear in this case.”[3] Defendant failed to respond to the Motion and the time for doing so has expired.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Rule 55(a) of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that default must be entered “[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend.” However, Defendant has defended the judgment in filing its motion to dismiss and otherwise participating in the earlier stages of the litigation proceedings. The Court therefore declines to grant default under Rule 55(a). However, as referenced in the Court's January 11 Order, default judgment may be entered as a sanction against Defendant for its failure to comply with the Court's orders.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(f)(1)(c) provides that a court “may issue any just orders, including those authorized by Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii), if a party or its attorney . . . fails to obey a . . . pretrial order.” Rule 37(b)(2)(A) allows for the following sanctions:

(ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(iii) striking pleadings in whole or in part;
(iv) staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed;
(v) dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part;
(vi) rendering a default judgment against the disobedient ...

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