United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is plaintiff Genesis Marine, LLC's
(“Genesis”) motion for a default judgment against
defendant Noil Petroleum (“Noil”). Genesis
requests that the Court enter a judgment in its favor and
against Noil in the amount of $55, 423.94. Genesis also
requests post-judgment interest at the statutory rate until
the judgment is paid in full. For the following reasons, the
motion is granted.
alleges that on August 30, 2016, it entered into a business
relationship with Noil whereby Genesis would provide vessel
transportation services to Noil, at an agreed upon price,
pursuant to the parties' Marine Transportation Services
Agreement (“MTSA”). According to the MTSA, Noil
agreed to pay Genesis for its hire of the M/V RED RIVER
EXPRESS and Barges GM 1004 and GM 1007, and other related
alleges that it issued Noil the following invoices: Invoice
No. 36924, dated September 21, 2016, in the amount of $41,
118.00 for hire of the M/V RED RIVER EXPRESS and Barges GM
1004 and GM 1007; Invoice No. 36925, dated September 21,
2016, in the amount of $9, 410.96 for fuel expenses; and
Invoice No. 37141, dated October 10, 2016, in the amount of
$4, 894.98 for tankerman and fleeting expenses. Genesis alleges
that, according to the MTSA, Noil was obligated to remit
payment to Genesis within ten (10) days of Noil's receipt
of the invoices and that it has yet to be paid by
Noil. According to Genesis, Noil's failure
to pay Genesis within ten days of receipt of the invoices
constitutes a breach of contract.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Court is entitled to consider several 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 set aside the default on the
defendant's motion.” Lindsey v. Prive
Corp., 161 F.3d 886, 893 (5th Cir. 1998).
was served with a summons and the complaint on April 10,
2019, and its responsive pleadings were due May 1,
2019. As of this date, Noil has yet to file
responsive pleadings or appear in this case. On June 6, 2019,
the Clerk of Court issued an entry of default against Noil
for failure to plead or otherwise defend
itself.On June 21, 2019, Genesis moved for a
default judgment; to date Noil has not filed a response.
The Court must therefore determine whether, accepting the
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true,
Genesis is entitled to ...