United States District Court, D. Arizona
Douglas L. Rayes, United States District Judge.
Elizabeth Jurado Armendariz moves for default judgment
against Defendant Northeast Collection Bureau Incorporated
(“NCBI”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b). (Doc. 23.) No. response has been filed and
the time for filing one has passed. For reasons stated below,
Plaintiff's motion is granted.
29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a civil action against NCBI for
violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”).
(Doc. 1.) After several unsuccessful attempts to serve
NCBI's statutory agent, Plaintiff requested permission to
effect service by posting a copy of the Summons and Complaint
on the door of the statutory agent and by mailing a copy
thereof to the public addresses listed for the statutory
agent. (Doc. 9.) Finding good cause, the Court granted this
request. (Doc. 11.) Subsequently, NCBI was properly served
but failed to answer or otherwise defend within the time
prescribed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docs.
13, 15.) Upon application by Plaintiff, the Clerk entered
default against NCBI. (Doc. 19.) Plaintiff now seeks entry of
a default judgment. (Doc. 23.)
Default Judgment Standard
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 v.
McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986). In
considering the merits and sufficiency of the complaint, the
court accepts as true the complaint's well-pled factual
allegations, but the plaintiff must establish all damages
sought in the complaint. See Geddes v. United Fin.
Grp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977).
Possible Prejudice to Plaintiff
first Eitel factor weighs in favor of default
judgment. NCBI failed to respond to the complaint or
otherwise appear in this action despite being served with the
complaint and the application for default. If default
judgment is not granted, 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 the
entry of default judgment.
Merits of the Claims and Sufficiency of the
second and third Eitel factors favor a default
judgment where the complaint states a claim for relief under
the notice pleading standards of Rule 8. See Id. at
1175; Danning v. Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388-89 (9th
Cir. 1978). Here, Plaintiff alleges violations of the FDCPA,
specifically, NCBI's attempt to collect the debt by
threatening legal action when none was intended and failing
to provide Plaintiff notice concerning electronic bank
withdrawals it was taking from Plaintiff's account. A
review of the well-pled allegations shows that Plaintiff has
stated a plausible claim to relief against NCBI. The second
and third Eitel factors, therefore, favor a default
Amount of Money at Stake
the fourth Eitel factor, the Court considers the
amount of money at stake in relation to the seriousness of
Defendant's conduct. See PepsiCo, 238 F.Supp.2d
at 1176. Plaintiff seeks $1, 000.00 in statutory damages,
plus attorney's fees of $2, 082.50 and court costs
of $530.00. (Doc. 23 at 1.) Section 1692k(a) of the FDCPA
provides that a consumer may recover statutory damages of up
to $1, 000.00 for violations of the Act. Given the severity