United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
C. CACHERIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on United States Magistrate Judge
Ivan D. Davis' Report and Recommendation [Dkt. 60], which
recommends that the Court enter default judgment in favor of
Plaintiffs Yen Kim Ly, Mai Anh Tran, and Baothu Huynh Nguyen
against Defendant Dung Quoc Tran. This matter is also before
the Court on Plaintiffs' Partial Objection to the Report
and Recommendation [Dkt. 61]. For the reasons that follow,
the Court will overrule Plaintiffs' objection, adopt
Judge Davis' Report and Recommendation, and enter default
judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs in the amount of $301,
Yen Kim Ly, Mai Anh Tran, and Baothu Huynh Nguyen
(“Plaintiffs”) all individually loaned money to
Defendant Dung Quoc Tran (“Defendant”), a notable
Vietnamese singer, with the expectation that he would pay
them back. Compl. at 1. Defendant told Plaintiffs a variety
of reasons about why he needed their money, from needing to
pay for travel expenses to wanting to save a business that he
falsely purported to own to having to pay attorney's fees
for a crime he allegedly committed while in high school.
Id., ¶¶ 17-19, 40. To date, Defendant has
failed to pay back the majority of the money that Plaintiffs
loaned him. As a result, on November 18, 2016, Plaintiffs
filed the instant lawsuit against Defendant, alleging tort
claims involving fraud and fraudulent inducement to contract
under Virginia law. Although Defendant has wrote to this
Court on several occasions [Dkts. 10, 18, 19, 47, 54, 56], he
has failed to respond to Plaintiffs' Complaint or appear
at any proceedings in this matter.
April 12, 2017, Plaintiffs moved for entry of default
judgment against Defendant. [Dkt. 41.] Following a hearing on
May 19, 2017, Judge Davis took the matter under advisement.
On August 23, 2017, Judge Davis issued his Report and
Recommendation. [Dkt. 60.] Plaintiffs filed a partial
objection to this report on September 6, 2017. [Dkt. 61.]
This matter is now ripe for disposition.
to the Federal Rules, whenever a magistrate judge enters a
recommendation on a dispositive matter, the district court
must review it de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
“The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the
recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return
the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.”
instant case, Plaintiffs' only objection to the Report
and Recommendation is its conclusion that they should not be
awarded punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees
associated with bringing this action. [Dkt. 61 at 2.] Because the
merits of Judge Davis' recommendation, as well as
Plaintiffs' objection to that recommendation, turn on the
procedural history of this case, the Court will briefly
explain that history.
19, 2017, Judge Davis ordered Plaintiffs to file a
supplemental memorandum with additional detail regarding
their request for damages. [Dkt. 52.] Judge Davis asked for
this information because of inconsistencies between the
Complaint, the Motion for Default Judgment, and the
affidavits to support the Motion for Default Judgment.
[Id.] The Order initially asked Plaintiffs to
provide information on compensatory damages and interest.
[Id.] In addition, the Order stated that Plaintiffs
should provide “the dollar amount of punitive damages
requested and support for such a request, ” as well as
“the amount of attorney's fees and costs associated
with this action, including the necessary support required
for such a request.” [Id.] When
Plaintiffs' counsel submitted their supplemental
memorandum on June 26, 2017 [Dkt. 53], however, it did not
include any information as to punitive damages,
costs, or attorney's fees. [Id.] As a result,
Judge Davis found that Plaintiffs “failed to provide
the necessary information or support” to permit an
award to include punitive damages, costs, and attorney's
fees. [Dkt. 60 at 19.] Judge Davis then recommended denying
Plaintiffs' request for this relief, limiting their award
to compensatory damages and interest only. [Id.]
Plaintiffs' counsel argues that he understood the
Court's Order of June 19, 2017, to be directing
Plaintiffs to provide information solely about compensatory
damages. [Dkt. 61 at 2.] Due to this misunderstanding,
Plaintiffs ask this Court to reconsider Judge Davis'
recommendation and review additional information they have
since provided to the Court regarding their request for
punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees.
reviewed the pleadings and the Report and Recommendation in
this case, the Court finds that Judge Davis' Order was
detailed and clear, that Plaintiffs' counsel could have
sought clarification of that Order if he had any doubt about
its meaning, that Judge Davis gave Plaintiffs multiple
opportunities to provide supplemental information to the
Court to cure deficiencies in previous filings, and that the
additional information provided by Plaintiffs earlier this
week is still insufficient to support an award of punitive
damages, costs, and attorney's fees. Accordingly, the
Court will overrule Plaintiff's objection and adopt Judge
Davis' recommendation denying Plaintiffs' request for
foregoing reasons, the Court will overrule Plaintiffs'
Partial Objection [Dkt. 61], adopt Judge Davis' Report
and Recommendation [Dkt. 60], and enter default judgment in