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Mint Solar, LLC v. Savage

United States District Court, D. Utah

December 9, 2019

MINT SOLAR, LLC, a Utah limited liability company, and KNIGHT WEST CONSTRUCTION, INC., a Utah corporation, Plaintiffs,
v.
BART SAVAGE, an individual, AARON HALDERMAN, an individual, OLIVIA BLACK, an indivdual, PRIZM ENERGY LLC, a Utah limited liability company, PRIZM ENTERPRISES, LLC, a Utah limited liabilty company, PRIZM HOME LLC, a Utah limited liability company, and DOES 1-10, Defendants. BART J. SAVAGE, an individual, AARON HALDERMAN, an individual, OLIVIA BLACK, an individual, PRIZM ENERGY, LLC a Utah limited liability company, Cross-Complainants,
v.
SCOTT SHUMWAY, an individual; SPENCER SHUMWAY, an individual; SIMON KEOGH, an individual; COLTON CHESTNUT, an individual; BYRON SMITH, an individual; BLAINE THATCHER, an individual; BRENDAN HAYS, an individual; TOMAS REYES, an individual; KNIGHT WEST CONSTRUCTION, INC., a Utah corporation; MINT ENERGY, LLC, a Utah limited liability company; and MNT HOLDINGS, INC., nominally, and ROES 1-100. Cross-Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING RENEWED MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT AND DISMISSAL

          TED STEWART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Renewed Motion for Entry of Default and Dismissal filed by Plaintiffs, Counterclaim Defendants, and Third-Party Defendants (collectively, “Plaintiffs”). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Plaintiffs' Motion.

         Plaintiffs Mint Solar, LLC (“Mint”) and Knight West Construction, Inc. (“Knight”) initially filed this action in state court against Defendants Bart Savage, Aaron Halderman, Olivia Black, Prizm Enterprises, LLC and Prizm Home LLC (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendants removed this action to this Court on July 17, 2018. On July 24, 2018, Defendants filed a Cross-Complaint.

         On September 10, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiffs' claims. The Court denied that motion on November 13, 2018.[1]

         After the motion to dismiss was denied, the parties agreed to multiple extensions for Defendants to file their answer.

         On April 9, 2019, prior to an answer being filed, Defendants' counsel sought to withdraw. On April 15, 2019, the Court granted counsel's motion. As part of the Court's order, the Court directed Defendants to file a notice of substitution of counsel or a notice of appearance within twenty-one days. Defendants were further advised that the entity Defendants must be represented by an attorney. Defendants were warned that failure to comply could result in sanctions, including dismissal or default.

         Defendants failed to comply with this order. Defendant Olivia Black sought and received an extension of time to file a notice of appearance or notice of substitution of counsel but failed to do so. Defendant Savage and Halderman both filed untimely answers.

         On May 9, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking the entry of default against all Defendants except Ms. Black and the dismissal of their counterclaims and third-party claims. The Court denied that motion without prejudice to “afford Defendants one last opportunity to come into compliance with the Court's orders and participate in this litigation.”[2] The Court allowed an additional fourteen (14) days to file a notice of substitution of counsel or a notice of appearance. While, as noted, Defendants Savage and Halderman have filed untimely answers, none of the remaining Defendants have complied with the Court's Order.

         Plaintiffs now file the instant Motion. Plaintiffs request the Court enter default against Defendants, Counterclaimants, and Third-party Plaintiffs Prizm Energy LLC, Prizm Enterprises, LLC, Prizm Home LLC (collectively, the “Prizm Entities”) and to dismiss their counterclaims and third-party claims based on their failure to comply. Plaintiffs originally sought default against Ms. Black but have since withdrawn this request and she has been dismissed from this action.[3]

         Plaintiffs move for default judgment and dismissal as a result of the Prizm Entities failure to comply with the Court's Order. 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.”[4] Rule 37(b)(2)(A) referenced in Rule 16(f)(1)(c) provides for sanctions including:

(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 ...

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