United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
S. DAVIS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on an unopposed motion for default
judgment filed by plaintiff BMO Harris Bank N.A.
("Plaintiff") against defendant Ted Basnight, doing
business as Basnight Hauling ("Defendant"). For the
reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's motion for default judgment.
is a national banking association located in Chicago,
Illinois. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1. Defendant is an
individual resident and citizen of the Commonwealth of
Virginia, and he has registered the trade name "Basnight
Hauling" with the Circuit Court Clerk for the City of
Chesapeake, Virginia. Id. ¶ 2. The parties
entered into a loan and security agreement on June 2, 2017
(''Agreement"), in which Plaintiff agreed to
finance Defendant's purchase of a 2018 Kenworth T880
Tractor ("Collateral") and Defendant agreed to pay
Plaintiff $224, 630.70, including interest. Id.
¶ 8. In consideration for entering into the Agreement,
Defendant also granted Plaintiff a first-priority security
interest in the Collateral. Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff
perfected its security interest by recording its lien on the
Certificate of Title. Id.
terms of the Agreement provide that, if Defendant failed to
make a payment, such failure would result in default.
Id. ¶ 10. Defendant failed to make the payment
due on March 1, 2018, and all subsequent payments.
Id. ¶ 12. On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff
notified Defendant of his default and demanded Defendant pay
the amount due and surrender the Collateral. Id.
¶ 19. Defendant has neither paid nor surrendered
possession of the Collateral. Id. ¶ 20-21.
filed a Verified Complaint stating the above allegations on
January 9, 2019. Compl., ECF No. 1. Defendant was personally
served on February 1, 2019. Returned Summons, ECF No. 5.
Defendant failed to respond within the twenty-one-day
deadline. Plaintiff requested entry of default on February
26, 2019, and the clerk entered default that day. Pl.'s
Req., ECF No. 7; Clerk Entry, ECF No. 8. Plaintiff then filed
the instant motion for default judgment on March 28, 2019,
ECF No. 9. Defendant has yet to respond in any way.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 provides that entry of default is
appropriate 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). After securing entry of
default, a plaintiff may then move for entry of default
judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). “A court confronted
with a motion for default judgment is required to exercise
sound judicial discretion in determining whether the judgment
should be entered, and the moving party is not entitled to
default judgment as a matter of right." EMI April
Music, Inc. v. White, 618 F.Supp.2d 497, 505 (E.D. Va.
2009) (citation omitted).
defendant defaults, he or she "admits the
plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact."
Ryan v. Homecomings Financial Network, 253 F.3d 778,
780 (4th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). To present
well-pleaded allegations of fact, a complaint must
"contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Accordingly, in resolving a motion
seeking default judgment, the court must "determine
whether the well-pleaded allegations in [the plaintiff's]
complaint support the relief sought in th[e] action."
Ryan, 253 F.3d at 780 (citation omitted).
well-pleaded factual allegations must be accepted as true, a
party in default does not admit allegations as to the amount
of damages. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6) ("An
allegation-other than one relating to the amount of
damages-is admitted if a responsive pleading is required and
the allegation is not denied."). For this reason, after
a district court concludes that liability is established in
the default judgment context, it must then independently
calculate damages. To assess the extent of a plaintiff's
damages, a district court may conduct an evidentiary hearing
under Rule 55(b)(2), but it "need not do so . . .if the
damages can be ascertained based on detailed affidavits or
documents attached to the plaintiff's motion."
Anderson & Strudwick, Inc. v. IBD-Placement &
Recruiting Services, LLC, No. 3:11cv818, 2012 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 65914, at *10-11 (E.D. Va. May 10, 2012) (citing
Anderson v. Found, for Advancement, Educ. & Emp't
of Am. Indians, 155 F.3d 500, 507 (4th Cir. 1998)).
Jurisdiction, Venue, and Service of Process
preliminary matter, the Court finds that jurisdiction, venue,
and service of process are proper. The Court clearly has
subject matter jurisdiction because there is complete
diversity and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332; Compl. ¶¶ 1-5.
Personal jurisdiction exists because Defendant is a resident
and citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia. See Goodyear
Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
924 (2011) ("For an individual, the paradigm forum for
the exercise of general jurisdiction is the individual's
domicile"); Compl. ¶ 2. Venue is appropriate
because Defendant resides in the Eastern District of Virginia
and the events that gave rise to the cause of action occurred
in this district as well because the Collateral is located
here. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b); Compl.
for the Court to enter default judgment, Defendant must have
been properly served with process. Service of process was
proper in this case because Defendant was personally served
at his residence: 1911 Peartree Street, Chesapeake, ...