United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, UNITED STATES-DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion for Default Judgment (Doc.
12) filed by Plaintiff Caronda Ford, in which
Plaintiff seeks a default judgment against Defendant Recovery
Solutions Group, LLC. Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. For the following reasons, the Motion for
Default Judgment (Doc. 14) is GRANTED.
action arises out of Defendant's attempted collection of
a debt from Plaintiff. (Doc. 16 at p. 1). In July 2017,
Plaintiff incurred an alleged debt for personal and household
purposes with Service Master Advantage Disaster Services for
the reparation of water damage to her home in Baton Rouge,
LA. Plaintiff asserts that even though the debt was covered
by her insurance company, Defendant attempted to collect the
debt from her rather than the insurance company. In October
2017, Defendant sent Plaintiff a collection letter, which
allegedly falsely stated that Plaintiff owed an outstanding
balance of $1, 626.85 and threatened to place a lien on
Plaintiffs property for the debt. (Doc. 16 at p. 2). The
letter was sent by Amanda Walker, who held the title of
"legal coordinator for Defendant." (Id. at
p. 3). Plaintiff asserts that Defendant was not a registered
debt collector in the State of Louisiana when the letter was
sent. Plaintiff also alleges that Amanda Walker was not a
licensed attorney. Plaintiff brings suit, alleging that
Defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has
adopted a three-step process to obtain a default judgment.
See New York Life Ins. Co. v. Brown, 84 F.3d 137,
141 (5th Cir. 1996). First, a default occurs when a party
"has failed to plead or otherwise defend" against
an action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Next, an entry of default must
be entered by the clerk when the default is shown "by
affidavit or otherwise." See id.; New York
Life, 84 F.3d at 141. Third, a party may apply to the
court for a default judgment after an entry of default.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b); New York Life, 84 F.3d at 141.
party files for a default judgment, courts must apply a
two-step process to determine whether a default judgment
should be entered. First, a court must consider whether the
entry of default judgment is appropriate under the
circumstances. Lindsey v. Prive Corp., 161 F.3d 886,
893 (5th Cir. 1998). Several factors are relevant to this
inquiry, including: (1) whether there are material issues of
fact at issue, (2) whether there has been substantial
prejudice, (3) whether the grounds for default have been
clearly established, (4) whether the default was caused by
excusable neglect or good faith mistake, (5) the harshness of
the default judgment, and (6) whether the court would think
itself obliged to set aside the default on a motion by the
the Court must assess the merits of the plaintiffs claims and
determine whether the plaintiff has a claim for relief.
Nishimatsu Constr. Co. u. Houston Nat'l Bank,
515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975); Hamdan v. Tiger
Bros. Food Mart, Inc., 2016 WL 1192679, at *2 (M.D. La.
Mar. 22, 2016).
Default Judgment is Appropriate under the Lindsey
Court must first decide whether the entry of default judgment
is appropriate under the circumstances, by considering the
Lindsey factors. First, there are no material facts
in dispute because Defendant failed to file an Answer or
motion under Rule 12. Second, it is undisputed that Defendant
has not contacted Plaintiffs counsel or made an appearance in
Court. (Doc. 16 at p. 7). Third, the grounds for granting a
default judgment against Defendant are clearly established,
as evidenced by the action's procedural history and the
Clerk's entry of default. (Doc. 9). Fourth, the Court has
no basis to find that Defendant's failure to respond was
the result of a good faith mistake or excusable neglect
because Defendant has failed to respond to Plaintiff or to
the Court. Fifth, Defendant's failure to file any
responsive pleading or motion mitigates the harshness of a
default judgment. Finally, the Court is not aware of any
facts that would lead it to set aside the default judgment if
challenged by Defendant. The Court therefore finds that the
six Lindsey factors weigh in favor of default.
The Sufficiency of the Pleadings
Court must also determine whether Plaintiffs pleadings
provide a sufficient basis for a default judgment. Plaintiff
claims that Defendant violated the following sections of the
FDCPA: (1) 15 U.S.C. § 1692e (2) 15 U.S.C. §
1692f(1), and (3) 15 U.S.C. § 1692g. The Court addresses
each claim in turn.