United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
D. Davis United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment against Defendant Robert Steven Richardson
("Defendant") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b)(2). (Dkt. No. 8.) After neither Defendant nor
a licensed attorney for Defendant appeared at the hearing on
September 2, 2016, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took this
matter under advisement to issue this Report and
Recommendation. Upon consideration of the Complaint, the
Motion for Entry of Default Judgment, and the supporting
documents, the undersigned Magistrate Judge makes the
following findings and recommends that Plaintiffs Motion be
United States of America ("Plaintiff), filed the
Complaint on May 18, 2016 to collect unpaid federal income
taxes assessed against Defendant for the years 2002, 2004,
2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. (Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff
has moved for default judgment against Defendant and seeks
damages in the amount of $1, 286, 008.13 as of May 23, 2016,
plus statutory additions to tax accruing until paid. (Compl.
Jurisdiction and Venue
Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
the entry of default judgment when "a party against whom
a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to
plead or otherwise defend." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). The
court must have both subject matter and personal jurisdiction
over a defaulting party before it can render a default
Court has original jurisdiction over all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, any civil action expressly
authorized by Act of Congress, as well as any civil action
arising under any Act of Congress providing for internal
revenue. 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1340, 1345; 26 U.S.C.
§ 7402(a). Therefore, this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction. This Court has personal jurisdiction over
Defendant because he resides in Virginia and was personally
served in Virginia. See Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316-17 (1945). Venue is proper
in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391 and
Service of Process
court to have personal jurisdiction over a defendant for the
purpose of entering default judgment, the plaintiff must
properly serve the defendant under federal or state law.
Miss. Publ'g Corp. v. Murphree, 326 U.S. 438,
444-45 (1946) (stating that "service of summons is the
procedure by which a court having venue and jurisdiction of
the subject matter of the suit asserts jurisdiction over the
person of the party served"); Cent. Operating Co. v.
Util. Workers of Am., 491 F.2d 245, 249-51 (4th Cir.
1974) (reversing the district court's entry of default
judgment because the court lacked personal jurisdiction where
the plaintiff failed to effectively serve the defendant with
summons and complaint). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
provide the manner in which service must occur.
Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e) governs service upon an
individual and allows service by "delivering a copy of
the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally
[or] leaving a copy of each at the individual's dwelling
or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and
discretion who resides there." Fed.R.Civ.P.
4(e)(2)(A)-(B)- On June 2, 2016, a certified
process server served Defendant by personally serving him
with the Summons and Complaint at Defendant's place of
residence. (Dkt. No. 5.) Therefore, Plaintiff properly served
Defendant pursuant to Rule 4(e).
Grounds for Default
18, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint against Defendant
seeking unpaid federal income taxes and statutory additions
to tax accruing and continuing until paid. (Dkt. No. 1.) A
certified process server served Defendant on June 2, 2016.
(Dkt. No. 5.) On July 13, 2016, after Defendant failed to
respond, the Clerk of Court entered default against
Defendant. (Dkt. No. 7.) On July 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed
the pending Motion for Default Judgment. (Dkt. No. 8.) This
Court held a hearing on the Motion on September 2, 2016.
(Dkt. No. 12.) After Defendant failed to appear at the
September 2, 2016 hearing, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
took this matter under advisement to issue this Report and
EVALUATION OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the
entry of default judgment when "a party against whom a
judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead
or otherwise defend." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). A defendant in
default concedes the factual allegations of the complaint.
See, e.g., DIRECTV, Inc. v. Rawlins,523 F.3d 318,
322 n.2 (4th Cir. 2008); Partington v. Am. Int'l
Specialty Lines Ins. Co.,443 F.3d 334, 341 (4th Cir.
2006); Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d
778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001). Default does not, however,
constitute an admission of the adversary's conclusions of
law, and is not to be "treated as an absolute confession
by the defendant of his liability and of the plaintiffs right
to recover." Ryan, 253 F.3d at 780 (quoting
Nishimatsu Constr. Co., Ltd. v. Hous. Nat'l