Millennium TGA Incorporated v. Michuta

Filing 13

ORDER AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT - Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (Doc. 12 ) is granted. Judgment is hereby entered in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant Mathew Michuta in the amount of $15,350.00. The Clerk shall terminate this action. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 2/22/2013. (KMG)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Millennium TGA, Inc., a Hawaii corporation, 10 Plaintiff, 11 ORDER AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT v. 12 No. CV12-2143 PHX DGC Mathew Michuta, 13 Defendant. 14 15 16 17 Plaintiff has filed a motion for default judgment against Defendant Mathew Michuta. Doc. 12. The Court will grant the motion in part. 18 This is a civil action for copyright infringement. Doc. 1. The complaint was filed 19 on October 9, 2012. Doc. 1. Defendant was served (Dos. 8-1), but has not answered or 20 otherwise responded to the complaint. On December 13, 2012, the Clerk entered default 21 against Defendant. Doc. 9. Plaintiff filed the motion for default judgment on January 15, 22 2013. Doc. 12. No response to the motion has been filed. 23 Once a party’s default has been entered, the district court has discretion to grant 24 default judgment against that party. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2); Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 25 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). 26 possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of the claim, (3) the sufficiency of 27 the complaint, (4) the amount of money at stake, (5) the possibility of a dispute 28 concerning material facts, (6) whether default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the Factors the court may consider include (1) the 1 policy favoring a decision on the merits. See Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72. 2 In applying the Eitel factors, “the factual allegations of the complaint, except those 3 relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true.” Geddes v. United Fin. Group, 4 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977). 5 A. 6 The first Eitel factor weighs in favor of granting Plaintiff’s motion. Defendant has 7 not answered the complaint or otherwise appeared in this action. If Plaintiff’s motion for 8 default judgment is not granted, Plaintiff “will likely be without other recourse for 9 recovery.” PepsiCo, Inc. v. Cal. Security Cans, 238 F. Supp. 2d 1172, 1177 (C.D. Cal. 10 Possible Prejudice to Plaintiff. 2002). 11 B. The Merits of Plaintiff’s Claims and the Sufficiency of the Complaint. 12 The second and third Eitel factors favor a default judgment where the complaint 13 sufficiently states a claim for relief. See Cal. Security Cans, 238 F. Supp. 2d at 1175; 14 Danning v. Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388-89 (9th Cir. 1978)). A review of Plaintiff’s 15 complaint and attached exhibits shows that Plaintiff has stated valid causes of action 16 against Defendant. See Doc. 1. 17 C. The Amount of Money at Stake. 18 Under the fourth Eitel factor, the court considers the amount of money at stake in 19 relation to the seriousness of the defendants’ conduct. See Cal. Security Cans, 238 F. 20 Supp. 2d at 1176. Plaintiff seeks $150,000.00 for violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 101, et seq. 21 Doc. 1 at 2. The Court deems this request excessive. Plaintiff’s motion notes that the 22 Court has discretion to reduce the amount of statutory damages awarded. Doc. 12 at 7. 23 Because Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant’s actions were undertaken for 24 commercial gain, the Court will reduce the award to $10,000. The Court will also award 25 costs and attorneys’ fees of $5,350. See Doc. 12 at 8; Doc. 12-1. 26 D. 27 Given the sufficiency of the complaint and Defendant’s default, “no genuine 28 Possible Dispute Concerning Material Facts. dispute of material facts would preclude granting [Plaintiff’s] motion.” -2- Cal. Security 1 Cans, 238 F. Supp. 2d at 1177; see Geddes, 559 F.2d at 560. 2 E. Whether Default Was Due to Excusable Neglect. 3 Defendant was served with the summons and complaint. Docs. 8-1. It therefore is 4 “unlikely that [his] failure to answer and the resulting default was the result of excusable 5 neglect.” Gemmel v. Systemhouse, Inc., No. CIV 04-187-TUC-CKJ, 2008 WL 65604, at 6 *5 (D. Ariz. Jan. 3, 2008). 7 F. The Policy Favoring a Decision on the Merits. 8 “Cases should be decided upon their merits whenever reasonably possible.” Eitel, 9 782 F.2d at 1472. But the mere existence of Rule 55(b) “indicates that this preference, 10 standing alone, is not dispositive.” Cal. Security Cans, 238 F. Supp. at 1177 (citation 11 omitted). Moreover, Defendants’ failure to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint 12 “makes a decision on the merits impractical, if not impossible.” Id. The Court therefore 13 is not precluded from entering default judgment against Defendants. See id.; Gemmel, 14 2008 WL 65604 at *5. 15 G. Conclusion. 16 Having reviewed Plaintiff’s motion and supporting documents, and having 17 considered the Eitel factors as a whole, the Court concludes that the entry of default 18 judgment is appropriate. 19 Mathew Michuta in the amount of $15,350. The Court will grant default judgment against Defendant 20 IT IS ORDERED: 21 1. Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment (Doc. 12) is granted. 22 2. Judgment is hereby entered in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant Mathew Michuta in the amount of $15,350.00. 23 24 25 3. The Clerk shall terminate this action. Dated this 22nd day of February, 2013. 26 27 28 -3-

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