United States District Court, D. Hawaii
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT CRENSTON W.
Richard L. Puglisi, United States Magistrate Judge.
Trustees of the Hawaii Carpenters Trust Funds
("Plaintiffs") filed a Motion for Default Judgment
Against Defendant Crenston W. Saragosa on September 20, 2017
("Motion"). ECF No. 11. Defendant was served with a
copy of the Motion, but did not file an opposition or
otherwise respond. 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 consideration of the Motion, the supporting
memoranda, exhibits, and the record in this action, the Court
FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that the Motion be GRANTED.
filed their Complaint against Defendant on August 2, 2017.
ECF No. 1. The Complaint alleges that Defendant was an
employee eligible, along with his dependents, under a
collective bargaining agreement for benefits from the Hawaii
Carpenters Trust Funds. Id. ¶ 6-7. Defendant
and his former spouse, Melissa K. Au-Saragosa, received
benefits from the Hawaii Carpenters Trust Funds. Id.
¶ 7. Pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Hawaii
Carpenters Trust Funds, coverage for a participant's
spouse terminates upon the dissolution of the marriage.
Id. ¶ 8.
August 20, 2014, Defendant submitted a form to the Hawaii
Carpenters Trust Funds that indicated he was
"single." Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiffs sought
clarification from Defendant asking that he submit his
divorce decree as required by the agreement. Id. On
May 24, 2016, Defendant provided a copy of the decree showing
that his divorce was finalized on July 7, 2011. Id.
Benefits in the amount of $57, 758.37 were paid out on behalf
of Melissa K. Au-Saragosa between the time of the divorce and
May 24, 2016. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiffs seek to
recover $57, 758.37 from Defendant and also request
attorneys' fees and costs under the collective bargaining
agreement and 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g). Id.
¶¶ 13-14. The Clerk entered default against
Defendant pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure on September 11, 2017. ECF No. 9.
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 the entry of
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 ...