United States District Court, D. Arizona
DOUGLAS L. RAYES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
moves for default judgment against Defendant pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b). (Doc. 13.) No.
response has been filed and the time for filing one has
passed. For reasons stated below, default judgment is
is in the business of booking and promoting talent for shows.
Defendant is a well-known rapper, who previously went by the
stage name Kodak Black and currently goes by the alias Bill
K. Kapri. On January 1, 2017, Plaintiff and Defendant entered
into a Talent Engagement Agreement, in which Defendant agreed
to perform on March 3, 2017 as the headlining artist at the
Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York. After Defendant
failed to appear, Plaintiff and Defendant executed a second
Talent Engagement Agreement in which Defendant agreed to
“make up” the missed performance by performing as
the headlining artist at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester,
New York on April 15, 2017. Again, Defendant did not appear.
Plaintiff and Defendant then executed a third agreement, in
which Defendant agreed to perform on April 29, 2017, but
Defendant failed to appear once more.
April 4, 2019, Plaintiff brought this action, alleging three
breach of contract claims and a claim for breach of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (Doc. 1.)
Defendant was served with the summons and complaint on May
16, 2019, but failed to appear or otherwise respond to the
complaint. (Doc. 13.) The Clerk of the Court entered default
as to Defendant on June 13, 2019. (Doc. 12.) The Court then
held an evidentiary hearing on September 9, 2019, to assess
damages. (Doc. 18.) Plaintiff, pursuant to the Court's
request, thereafter filed supplemental damage calculations
and billing records. (Docs. 21-23.)
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.
Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977).
first Eitel factor weighs in favor of default
judgment. Defendant failed to respond to the complaint or
otherwise appear in this action despite being served with the
complaint, the application for default, and the motion for
default judgment. 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
second, third, and fifth Eitel factors favor default
judgment where, as in this case, the complaint sufficiently
states a plausible claim for relief under the pleading
standards of Rule 8. See Id. at 1175; Danning v.
Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388-89 (9th Cir. 1978). A review
of the complaint's well-pled allegations shows that
Plaintiff has stated plausible claims for breach of contract
and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair
dealing. Moreover, given the sufficiency of the complaint and
Defendant's default, “no genuine dispute of
material facts would preclude granting [Plaintiff's]
motion.” PepsiCo, 238 F.Supp.2d at 1177.
the fourth Eitel factor, the Court considers the
amount of money at stake in relation to the seriousness of
the defendants' conduct. See PepsiCo, 238
F.Supp.2d at 1176. Here, Plaintiff seeks damages, including
attorneys' fees and costs, in the amount of $154, 960.
(Doc. 23.) This amount is rationally related to
Defendant's misconduct in repeatedly failing to perform
multiple contracts and the financial harm caused to
to the sixth factor, Defendant was properly served with
process in this matter. He also was served with copies of the
application for default and the present motion for default
judgment. It therefore “is unlikely that
Defendant's failure to answer and the resulting default
was a result of excusable neglect.” Gemmel v.
Systemhouse, Inc., No. CIV 04-187-TUC-CKJ, 2008 WL
65604, at *5 (D. Ariz. Jan. 3, 2008). Thus, the sixth
Eitel factor, like the other five discussed above,
weighs in favor of default judgment.
last factor always weighs against default judgment given that
cases “should be decided on their merits whenever
reasonably possible.” Eitel, 782 F.2d at 1472.
The mere existence of Rule 55(b), however, “indicates
that this preference, standing alone, is not
dispositive.” PepsiCo, 238 F.Supp.2d at 1177
(citation omitted). Moreover, Defendant's failure to
answer the complaint “makes a decision on the merits
impractical, if not impossible.” Gemmel, 2008
WL 65604, at *5. Stated differently, it is difficult to reach
the merits when the opposing party is absent. Because
Plaintiff has asserted plausible ...