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Hawaii Carpenters Trust Funds v. Dksl, LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 2, 2016

HAWAII CARPENTERS TRUST FUNDS, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
DKSL, LLC dba PARAMOUNT BUILDERS, ET AL., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DKSL, LLC dba PARAMOUNT BUILDERS[1]

          RICHARD L. PUGLISI, Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Default Judgment Against Defendant DKSL, LLC dba Paramount Builders on December 29, 2014 ("Motion"). ECF No. 13. Defendant was served with a copy of the Motion, but did not file an opposition or otherwise respond to the Motion. See ECF No. 13-6. The Court found the Motion suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. ECF No. 15. After careful consideration of the Motion, the declaration, exhibits, and the record established in this action, the Court FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that the Motion be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed their Complaint against Defendant on October 23, 2015. ECF No. 1. The Complaint alleges that Defendant entered into a collective bargaining agreement agreeing to contribute and pay to Plaintiffs certain amounts for employee benefits for work performed by Defendant's covered employees. Compl. ¶¶ 6-9. Contributions were to be paid on or before due dates specified in the collective bargaining agreement. Id . ¶ 7. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Defendant also agreed to submit reports regarding the hours worked by Defendant's covered employees and to permit audits and allow inspections of Defendant's payroll records so that Plaintiffs could ascertain whether all contributions had been paid. Id . ¶ 8. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant breached the collective bargaining agreement by failing to submit monthly reports for the hours worked by its covered employees and failing to allow Plaintiffs to complete an audit of Defendant's records for the months of January 2013 through September 2015. Id . ¶¶ 13-14. Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to an order directing Defendant to submit the required reports and to allow an audit pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and attorneys' fees. Id. at 8-9. The Clerk entered default against Defendant pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on December 14, 2015. ECF No. 12. The present Motion followed.

         ANALYSIS

         Default judgment may be entered for the plaintiff if the defendant has defaulted by failing to appear and the plaintiff's claim is for a "sum certain or for a sum which can by computation be made certain[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(1), (2). The granting or denial of a motion for default judgment is within the discretion of the court. Haw. Carpenters' Trust Funds v. Stone, 794 F.2d 508, 511-12 (9th Cir. 1986). Entry of default does not entitle the non-defaulting party to a default judgment as a matter of right. Valley Oak Credit Union v. Villegas, 132 B.R. 742, 746 (9th Cir. 1991). Default judgments are ordinarily disfavored, and cases should be decided on their merits if reasonably possible. Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1472 (9th Cir. 1986). The court should consider the following factors in deciding whether to grant a motion for default judgment:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff;
(2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim;
(3) the sufficiency of the complaint;
(4) the sum of money at stake in the action;
(5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts;
(6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect; and
(7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits.

Eitel, 782 F.2d at 1471-72.

         On default "the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true." TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915, 917-18 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting Geddes v. United Fin. Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977)). The allegations in the complaint regarding liability are deemed true, but the plaintiff must establish the relief to which she is entitled. Fair Hous. of Marin v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 906 (9th Cir. 2002). Also, "necessary facts not contained in the pleadings, and claims which are legally insufficient, are not established by ...


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