United States District Court, D. Arizona
James K. King, Plaintiff,
Union Leasing Inc., d/b/a Union Leasing Trust; Transtyle, Inc.; Sadeghi Holdings LLC; Mimi Sadeghi; Fred Sadeghi; Faramarz Sadeghi; Saba's Limo Inc.; and Sabah S. Alnassary; Defendants.
ORDER AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT
G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b), Plaintiff James
King has filed a motion for default judgment against
Defendants Transtyle, Inc., Sadeghi Holdings LLC, and Mimi,
Fred, and Faramarz Sadeghi. Doc. 84. For the reasons stated
below, default judgment is appropriate.
alleges that Defendants falsely represented vehicle mileage
when they sold or transferred title to a 2013 Cadillac
Escalade that Plaintiff ultimately purchased. Plaintiff
asserts two causes of action: (1) violation of the Federal
Odometer Act, 49 U.S.C. § 32701, against all Defendants,
and (2) violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, A.R.S.
§ 44-1521, against Defendant Sabo's Limo Inc. Doc.
served discovery requests on Defendant Transtyle and the
Sadeghi Defendants on January 17, 2018, to which Defendants
did not respond. Docs. 44-47. The parties were ordered to
personally appear and participate in a settlement conference
set for February 26, 2018, but Defendants did not appear.
Docs. 39, 55. Nor have Defendants responded to the order to
show cause why they should not be sanctioned for failing to
participate in the settlement conference. Doc. 58.
March 29, 2018, counsel for the parties appeared
telephonically for a discovery conference regarding
Defendants' failure to respond to Plaintiff's
discovery requests. The Court ordered Defendants to produce
documents to Plaintiff by April 4, 2018. Doc. 62. A second
hearing was scheduled for April 13, 2018 to again discuss
Defendants' failure to respond to the discovery requests,
but counsel for Defendants did not appear. Docs. 65-66. The
Court entered an order to show cause why default judgment
should not be entered against Defendants as a sanction for
failing to comply with discovery obligations and court
orders. Doc. 67. Defendants have failed to respond.
24, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment. Doc.
69. Defendants' default was entered pursuant to Rule
55(a), and Plaintiff was instructed to file a motion for a
specific default judgment based on the factors set forth in
Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir.
1986). Docs. 70-71. Plaintiff filed the present default
judgment motion on June 22, 2018. Doc. 84. No. response has
default is entered by the clerk, the district court may enter
default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b). The court's
“decision whether to enter a default judgment is a
discretionary one.” Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d
1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). Although the court should
consider and weigh relevant factors as part of the
decision-making process, it “is not required to make
detailed findings of fact.” Fair Housing of Marin
v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 906 (9th Cir. 2002).
following factors may be considered in deciding whether
default judgment is appropriate: (1) the possibility of
prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of the claims, (3)
the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the amount of money at
stake, (5) the possibility of factual disputes, (6) whether
default is due to excusable neglect, and (7) the policy
favoring decisions on the merits. See Eitel, 782
F.2d at 1471-72. In considering the merits and sufficiency of
the complaint, the court accepts as true the complaint's
well-pled factual allegations. See Geddes v. United Fin.
Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977). Having
reviewed the complaint and default judgment motion, and based
on the record as a whole, the Court finds that the
Eitel factors clearly favor default judgment in the
amounts of $65, 072.13 in damages, $14, 917.50 for
attorneys' fees, and $494.50 for costs.
Possible Prejudice to Plaintiff.
first Eitel factor weighs in favor of default
judgment. Defendants failed to respond to discovery requests,
failed to appear at hearings and the settlement conference,
failed to comply with court orders, and failed to respond to
Plaintiff's motions. If default judgment is not entered,
Plaintiff “will likely be without other recourse for
recovery.” PepsiCo, Inc. v. Cal. Sec. Cans,
238 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1177 (C.D. Cal. 2002). The prejudice to
Plaintiff in this regard supports default judgment.
Merits of the Claims and Sufficiency of the
second and third Eitel factors favor default
judgment where, as in this case, the complaint sufficiently
states a plausible claim for relief under the Rule 8 pleading
standards. See Id. at 1175; Danning v.
Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388-89 (9th Cir. 1978).
Plaintiff alleges that the 2013 Escalade he purchased had
well in excess of 170, 000 miles on it but the odometer
disclosure statement falsely represented the actual mileage
to be only 112, 000. Doc. 1 ¶ 1. The title history for
the Escalade revealed that Defendants participated in
altering the odometer reading or providing false disclosures
in order to cover up the vehicle's true mileage.
Id. ¶¶ 33-54. These allegations are
sufficient to state a violation of the Federal Odometer Act,
which prohibits a person from changing the ...