United States District Court, D. Hawaii
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST PACIFIC CONCRETE
WORKS, LLC 
Richard L. Puglisi United States Magistrate Judge
filed their Motion for Default Judgment Against Defendant
Pacific Concrete Works, LLC on April 14, 2016
("Motion"). ECF No. 11. Defendant was served with a
copy of the Motion, but did not file an opposition or
otherwise respond to the Motion. See ECF No. 11-8.
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. 12. 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.
filed their Complaint against Defendant on January 1, 2016.
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.
¶¶ 6-7. 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 pay contributions,
liquidated damages, and interest. Id. ¶¶
13-14. Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorneys’
fees and costs. Id. ¶ 17. The Clerk entered
default against Defendant pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on March 3, 2016. ECF No. 9.
The present Motion followed.
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. 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 related to unpaid
contributions pursuant to the Employment Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974, as amended. See 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1132(e), 1145. Second, the Court has personal
jurisdiction over Defendant. Personal jurisdiction can be
acquired by personal service or by a defendant’s
“minimum contacts” with the jurisdiction.
Cripps, 980 F.2d at 1267 ...