United States District Court, D. Hawaii
CARPET LINOLEUM AND SOFT TILE LOCAL UNION 192 6 TRUST FUNDS, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
IGD HOSPITALITY, INC.; LAYTON CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.; JOHN DOES 1-10; JANE DOES 1-10; DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10; DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-10; DOE GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES 1-10, AND DOE TRUSTS 1-10, Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT IN PART AND DENY
IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST
DEFENDANT IGD HOSPITALITY, INC. 
Richard L. Puglisi United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment
Against Defendant IGD Hospitality, Inc., filed on March 30,
2016 ("Motion"). ECF No. 28. Defendant IGD
Hospitality, Inc. was served with a copy of the Motion, but
did not file an opposition or otherwise respond to the
Motion. See ECF No. 28-8. 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. 29. After
careful consideration of the Motion, the declarations,
exhibits, and the record established in this action, the
Court FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that the Motion be GRANTED.
filed their Complaint against Defendants on September 22,
2015. ECF No. 1. The Complaint alleges that Defendant IGD
Hospitality, Inc. (“IGD”) executed a contract
agreeing to abide by certain collective bargaining
agreements, which required Defendant IGD to contribute and
pay to Plaintiffs certain amounts for employee benefits for
work performed by its covered employees. Compl. ¶¶
8, 12. Contributions were to be paid on or before due dates
specified in the collective bargaining agreements.
Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant IGD
failed to make required contributions for March, May, and
June 2015. Id. ¶ 19. The Complaint also alleges
that Plaintiffs, Defendant IGD, and Defendant Layton
Construction Co., Inc. (“Layton”) entered into an
agreement dated February 20, 2015, wherein Defendant Layton
agreed to issue payment by joint check to Defendant IGD and
Plaintiffs to pay Defendant IGD’s obligations under the
bargaining agreements for ongoing work performed by Defendant
IGD’s employees on Defendant Layton’s project.
Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant
Layton breached its obligations under that agreement by
issuing checks solely in Defendant IGD’s name and
assert a claim for breach of contract against Defendant
Layton. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiffs did not allege any
claim against Defendant IGD related to breach of the joint
check agreement. Id.
Clerk entered default against Defendant IGD pursuant to Rule
55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on November 2,
2015. ECF No. 12. Plaintiffs received $41, 757.82 from
Defendant Layton in settlement of all Plaintiffs’
claims against Defendant Layton. ECF No. 28-1 at 6.
Plaintiffs and Defendant Layton entered into a Stipulation
for Dismissal of Claims against Defendant Layton Construction
Co., Inc. With Prejudice, which was approved by the court on
February 26, 2016. ECF No. 26. The present Motion followed.
In the present Motion, Plaintiffs ask the Court to enter
default judgment against Defendant IGD for outstanding
contributions, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees
and costs. ECF No. 28-1 at 6.
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
(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.
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
default.” Cripps v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am.,
980 F.2d 1261, 1267 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Danning v.
Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir. 1978)).
considering the merits of default judgment, the Court has an
affirmative obligation to determine whether or not it has
subject matter jurisdiction over this action and personal
jurisdiction over Defendant IGD. See In re Tuli, 172
F.3d 707, 712 (9th Cir. 1999) (“To avoid entering a
default judgment that can later be successfully attacked as
void, a court should determine whether it has the power,
i.e., the jurisdiction, to enter the judgment in the first
place.”). First, the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendant
IGD related to unpaid contributions pursuant to the
Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as
amended. See 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(e), 1145.
the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant IGD.
Personal jurisdiction can be acquired by a defendant’s
“minimum contacts” with the jurisdiction.
Cripps, 980 F.2d at 1267 (citing Burnham v.
Superior Court of California, 495 U.S. 604 (1990)).
Specific personal jurisdiction exists if (a) the defendant
has performed some act or consummated some transaction within
the forum or otherwise purposefully availed itself of the
privileges of conducting activities in the forum; (b) the
claim arises out of or results from the defendant’s
forum related activities; and (c) the exercise of
jurisdiction is reasonable. Boschetto v. Hansing,
539 F.3d 1011, 1021 (9th Cir. 2008).