United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Stephen M. McNamee Senior United States District
before the Court is Plaintiff's Request to Clerk for
Entry of Default Judgment. (Doc. 9.) On December 11, 2015,
Plaintiff, United States, filed its Complaint in this matter
to collect debt owed by Defendant. (Doc. 1.) On February 3,
2016, Defendant sent a Waiver of Service of Summons to
Plaintiff. (Doc. 6.) However, Defendant did not file an
answer or otherwise respond to Plaintiff's Complaint.
See Fed. R. Civ. R. 12(a). The Clerk of Court
entered default against Defendant on April 18, 2016. (Doc.
8.) Plaintiff now moves the Court to enter default judgment.
(Doc. 9.) For the reasons below, the Court will grant
Plaintiff's request for default judgment.
December 11, 2015, Plaintiff filed its Complaint in this
matter to collect from Defendant monetary assessments and
penalties imposed by the United States Department of Labor,
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). (Doc. 1 ¶
5.) The assessments and penalties arise from Defendant's
safety violations under the Federal Mine Safety and Health
Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C. § 801, et seq., (the
Act) as noted during MSHA inspections of Defendant's
sites in Mohave, Arizona. (Id. ¶¶ 9-47.)
Plaintiff attached to its Complaint as Exhibits thirteen
Certificates of Indebtedness, which contain sworn statements
by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal
Service and detail the monetary assessments and penalties
issued by MSHA to Defendant as part of MHSA's duty to
enforce the Act. (Docs. 1-1 through 1-13.) Each Certificate
of Indebtedness was signed under penalty of perjury and sets
forth the violation date, the initial amount assessed, the
fees and costs assessed, all payments made by Defendant, and
the amount still owed. (Id.)
January 7, 2016, Plaintiff sent a Notice of Lawsuit and
Request for Waiver of Service and Summons to Defendant.
(Docs. 4, 6.) On February 3, 2016, Defendant sent the signed
Waiver to Plaintiff, acknowledging that Defendant had
received the Complaint and that it agreed to waive formal
service of the Summons and Complaint. (Doc. 6.) In addition,
the Waiver stated that a Judgment could be entered against
Defendant if it failed to file an answer or motion within 60
days after the Notice was sent, pursuant to Rule 12 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id.) Defendant,
however, did not file an answer or otherwise respond to the
April 15, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Request to Clerk of Court
for Entry of Default and Declaration. (Doc. 7.) That same
day, Plaintiff sent a copy of the Request to Defendant.
(Id.) On April 18, 2016, the Clerk of Court entered
Default. (Doc. 8.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a Request for
Entry of Default Judgment and Affidavit of Amount Due, and
sent a copy to Defendant. (Doc. 9.) On July 7, 2016, the
Court ordered Plaintiff to submit supplemental briefing
because Plaintiff failed to address the Eitel
factors in its Request for Entry of Default Judgment. (Doc.
20, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Supplemental Briefing. (Doc.
11.) Plaintiff requests the Court enter judgment in its favor
in the total amount of $52, 412.80. This amount includes: (1)
$37, 690.06 in principal; (2) $875.60 in accrued interest as
of the date of the Complaint; (3) $452.36 in penalties; (4)
$13, 304.78 in fees; and (5) $90.00 in costs. Plaintiff
further requests additional pre-judgment interest accrued
until the date of Judgment, as well as post-judgment
interest. (Doc. 9.) Below, the Court addresses
entry of judgment is sought against a party who has failed to
plead or otherwise defend, a district court has an
affirmative duty to look into its jurisdiction over both the
subject matter and the parties.” In re Tuli,
172 F.3d 707, 712 (9th Cir. 1999). Here, Plaintiff, the
United States, brings this action to recover fines and
penalties assessed pursuant to 30 U.S.C. § 801, et
seq. Therefore, the Court is satisfied that it has
subject matter jurisdiction over this action. See 28
U.S.C. § 1345 (“District courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions, suits or
proceedings commenced by the United States, or by an agency
or officer thereof expressly authorized to sue by Act of
Congress.”); 28 U.S.C. § 1355 (“The district
courts shall have original jurisdiction, exclusive of the
courts of the States, of any action or proceeding for the
recovery or enforcement of any fine, penalty, or forfeiture,
pecuniary or otherwise, incurred under any Act of Congress,
except matters within the jurisdiction of the Court of
International Trade under section 1582 of this
regard to personal jurisdiction, Plaintiff's Complaint
alleges that Defendant is a corporation conducting business
in Arizona. (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 2-4.) Plaintiff sent copies
of the Complaint and Summons to Defendant's address in
Kingman, Arizona. (Doc. 4.) In response, Defendant waived
service. (Doc. 6.) Therefore, the Court is satisfied that it
has personal jurisdiction over Defendant. See Cripps v.
Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 980 F.2d 1261, 1267 (9th Cir.
1992) (“Personal jurisdiction over a defendant may be
acquired in one of two ways: by personal service of that
defendant or by means of a defendant's ‘minimum
contacts' with the jurisdiction.”)
Standard for Entry of Default Judgment
55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative
relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend . .
. the clerk shall enter the party's default.” Once
a party's default has been entered, the district court
has discretion to grant default judgment. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2); Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d
1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980) (considering lack of merit in
plaintiff's substantive claims, the court did not abuse
its discretion in declining to enter a default judgment).