Zurich American Insurance Company v. Bulldog Marine, Inc. et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 59 Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendants Bulldog Marine, Inc., Bulldog Marine, LLC, Blacktip Partners, Inc., Blacktip Marine Partners, LLC, Brian L. Hall, Brenda R. Hall. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 2/2/2015. Copy mailed to parties via regular mail. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE
BULLDOG MARINE, INC., et al.,
) CIVIL ACTION 14-0294-WS-N
This matter is before the Court on the plaintiff’s motion for default
judgment against all defendants save Pedro Baez. (Doc. 59). Default has
previously been entered against all other defendants. (Doc. 55).
“The defendant, by his default, admits the plaintiff’s well-pleaded
allegations of fact .... A default judgment is unassailable on the merits but only so
far as it is supported by well-pleaded allegations, assumed to be true.” Nishimatsu
Construction Co. v. Houston National Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975).
Thus, “a default judgment cannot stand on a complaint that fails to state a claim.”
Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1371 n.41 (11th Cir. 1997).
Rather, “before entering a default judgment for damages, the district court must
ensure that the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint ... actually state a cause
of action and that there is a substantive, sufficient basis in the pleadings for the
particular relief sought.” Tyco Fire & Security, LLC v. Alcocer, 218 Fed. Appx.
860, 863 (11th Cir. 2007) (emphasis in original).
As to defendant Bulldog Marine, Inc. (“Bulldog, Inc.”), the second
amended complaint alleges that Bulldog, Inc. purchased a worker’s compensation
insurance policy from the plaintiff but has not paid the contractually agreed
premium for such coverage. (Doc. 8 at 4-6). Count One alleges a cause of action
for breach of contract and seeks recovery of the unpaid premium. (Id. at 6-7).
The well-pleaded allegations of the amended complaint actually state such a cause
of action and provide a substantive, sufficient basis for the relief sought.
The Court, however, cannot make a similar pronouncement as to the
remaining claims implicated by the instant motion. Counts Two and Three of the
amended complaint seek the same sum from Bulldog, Inc. on theories of unjust
enrichment and account stated. (Doc. 8 at 7-8). Counts Four through Nine seek
recovery of the same sum from three other entity defendants on theories of de
facto merger and successor liability. (Id. at 8-14). Counts Ten and Eleven seek
recovery of the same sum from two individual defendants under a theory of
piercing the corporate veil. (Id. at 14-16). Count Thirteen seeks recovery of the
same sum from all defendants under a theory of fraudulent transfer. (Id. at 18-19).
The plaintiff has not addressed these claims in its motion for default judgment, and
the Court declines to undertake on the plaintiff’s behalf the task of identifying the
elements of each such claim and ascertaining whether the allegations of the
complaint suffice to support default judgment as to them.
The Court further notes that, although default judgment may not be entered
against an infant or incompetent unless appropriately represented in the action,
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2), the plaintiff has not addressed the status of either
The Court further notes that, rather than addressing the calculation of
interest (as by providing by affidavit a per diem amount accruing), the plaintiff
requests leave to prove up interest at a later date. (Doc. 59 at 2). The plaintiff
apparently also seeks leave to prove up contractual attorney’s fees at a later date.
(Doc. 59-1, ¶ 17). This is inappropriate. See, e.g., Trustmark National Bank v.
Molleston, 2011 WL 1364223 at *2 (S.D. Ala. 2011).
The Court declines to consider the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment
in piecemeal fashion. Accordingly, the motion is denied, without prejudice to the
plaintiff’s ability to file a thorough, properly supported motion.
DONE and ORDERED this 2nd day of February, 2015.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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