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McGuire v. Freedom Well Services

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 20, 2017

RASHAWN MCGUIRE
v.
FREEDOM WELL SERVICES, ET AL

         SECTION “H”

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JANE TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Maxum Casualty Insurance Company's Motion to Vacate the Entry of Default Against Freedom Well Services L.L.C. (Doc. 36). For the following reasons, this Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This is a Title VII employment discrimination case. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Freedom Well Services, LLC (“Freedom Well”). While working offshore on October 4, 2012, he recorded a conversation between his supervisor and another person wherein his supervisor made derogatory racial remarks about the Plaintiff. Plaintiff reported this incident to his supervisor. He was subsequently transferred to the on shore shop, at a decrease in pay. He was terminated on January 11, 2013. Freedom Well stated that the termination was by mutual agreement due to Plaintiff's incompatibility in the workplace. Plaintiff maintains that this is not true. He brings claims for discrimination, racial harassment, and retaliation. He avers that defendants Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and Maxum Casualty and Insurance Company (“Maxum”) issued insurance policies to Freedom Well covering this incident.

         On May 18, 2016, the clerk entered default as to Defendant Freedom Well after it failed to appear. Defendant Maxum has filed the instant Motion asking the Court to vacate the default entered against Freedom Well. Plaintiff opposes this Motion

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 55(c) permits the trial court to set aside an entry of default for “good cause.”[1] To determine whether “good cause” has been shown, a district court should consider (1) whether the default was willful; (2) whether granting the motion would prejudice the non-moving party; and (3) whether a meritorious defense is presented.[2] These factors, however, are not “talismanic” and the Court may consider others such as whether the public interest was implicated, whether there was significant financial loss to the defendant, and whether the defendant acted expeditiously to correct the default.[3] In deciding a Rule 55(c) motion, the Court is mindful that default judgments are generally disfavored by the law and that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the movant.[4]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Defendant Maxum moves to vacate the default entered against its insured, Defendant Freedom Well, on the grounds that Freedom Well was never properly served. Service on corporate entities is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(h), which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(h) Serving a Corporation, Partnership, or Association. Unless federal law provides otherwise or the defendant's waiver has been filed, a domestic or foreign corporation, or a partnership or other unincorporated association that is subject to suit under a common name, must be served:
(1) in a judicial district of the United States:
(A) in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(e)(1) for serving an individual; or
(B) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and--if the agent is one authorized by statute and the statute ...

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