Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BASF Corp. v. Wrens, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 6, 2019

BASF CORPORATION
v.
WRENS, INC.

         SECTION I

          ORDER & REASONS

          LANCE M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is plaintiff BASF Corporation's (“BASF”) motion[1] for entry of a default judgment against defendant Wrens, Inc. (“Wrens”). BASF requests that the Court enter a judgment in its favor and award damages in the amount of $418, 879.31.[2] BASF also requests costs-namely, reimbursement for the $400 filing fee and a $135 expense it incurred to complete service of process.[3] For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part.

         I.

         Accepting the facts in BASF's complaint as true, they are as follows: BASF is in the business of selling after-market products related to refinishing automobiles.[4]BASF resells its products to distributors, who in turn sell them to automotive body shops, such as Wrens.[5] On or about December 13, 2013, BASF and Wrens entered into a requirements agreement (the “contract”), under which Wrens was obligated to purchase one-hundred percent of its required refinishing products from an authorized BASF distributor.[6] In accordance with the requirements contract, BASF's claims are governed by New Jersey laws.[7]

         The contract included several other terms. It specified a minimum purchase requirement of $635, 000 in the aggregate at “suggested refinish pricing” (the “minimum requirement”).[8] It also required BASF to pay Wrens $50.000 in consideration.[9] However, Wrens agreed to assume liability for $7, 800 in unearned consideration that it had previously received from BASF pursuant to a prior agreement.[10] The contract provided that, if the agreement was terminated for any reason before Wrens had purchased the minimum requirement, Wrens was obligated to refund one-hundred percent of what BASF calls “the full Contract Fulfillment Consideration, ” which includes the $50, 000 in consideration as well as the $7, 800 in previous consideration.[11]

         In or around August 2017, without any justification, Wrens breached and ultimately terminated the contract by, among other things, entering into an agreement with one of BASF's competitors and failing to purchase one-hundred percent of its required refinishing products from BASF.[12] Since then, Wrens has refused to purchase any other BASF refinishing products in further violation of the contract.[13] The breaches occurred before Wrens had purchased the minimum requirement.[14]

         In October 2018, BASF notified Wrens that it was in default of its contractual obligations; BASF also demanded payment of the full consideration amount- $57, 800.[15] To date, Wrens has failed and refused to refund the $57, 800 of consideration.[16] Additionally, a purchase balance of at least $361, 079.31 remains due under the terms of the contract.[17] BASF has fulfilled all of its obligations under the contract.[18]

         On January 10, 2019, BASF filed the present lawsuit against Wrens, asserting claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and declaratory relief.[19] BASF now moves the Court to enter a default judgment for damages against Wrens. R. Doc. No. 1, at 3-4.

         II.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b), the Court may enter a default judgment against a party when it fails to plead or otherwise respond to the plaintiff's complaint within the required time period. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). A plaintiff who seeks a default judgment against an unresponsive defendant must proceed with a two-step process.

         First, the plaintiff must petition the clerk for an entry of default, which is simply “the placement of a notation of the party's default on the clerk's record of the case.” Dow Chem. Pac. Ltd. v. Rascator Mar. S.A., 782 F.2d 329, 335 (2d Cir. 1986); see also United States v. Hansen, 795 F.2d 35, 37 (7th Cir. 1986) (describing the entry of default as “an intermediate, ministerial, nonjudicial, virtually meaningless docket entry”). Before the clerk may enter the default, the plaintiff must show “by affidavit or otherwise” that the defendant “has failed to plead or otherwise defend.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Beyond that requirement, the entry of default is largely mechanical.

         After the defendant's default has been entered, the plaintiff may request the entry of a judgment on the default. In that context, the court deems the plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations admitted. See Nishimatsu Const. Co., Ltd. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975). At the same time, the court does not hold the defaulting defendant “to [have] admitt[ed] facts that are not well-pleaded or to [have] admitt[ed] conclusions of law.” Id. The default judgment should not be entered unless the judgment is “‘supported by well-pleaded allegations' and . . . ha[s] ‘a sufficient basis in the pleadings.'” Wooten v. McDonald Transit Assocs., Inc., 788 F.3d 490, 498 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting Nishimatsu, 515 F.2d at 1206).

         If the plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain and the defendant has not made an appearance in court, the clerk may enter a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(1). In all other cases, “the party must apply to the court for a default judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). No. party is entitled to a default judgment as a matter of right. Lewis v. Lynn, 236 F.3d 766, 767 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam). The disposition of a motion for the entry of a default judgment ultimately rests within the sound discretion of the court. Mason v. Lister, 562 F.2d 343, 345 (5th Cir. 1977).

         Courts are entitled to consider many factors when determining whether to enter a default judgment including, “whether material issues of fact are at issue, whether there has been substantial prejudice, whether the grounds for default are clearly established, whether the default was caused by a good faith mistake or excusable neglect, the harshness of a default judgment, and whether the court would think itself obliged to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.