Composite Industrie SA v. Vision Air America Incorporated et al

Filing 24

ORDER that Plaintiff's 16 Motion for Default Judgment is GRANTED. Defendants Vision Air America Incorporated and Artur Niewiadowski are jointly and severally liable to Plaintiff Composite Industrie SA for $114,000.13 plus post-judgment interest accruing from today at the applicable federal rate. Signed by Senior Judge James A Teilborg on 2/17/2015.(LFIG)

Download PDF
1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Composite Industrie SA, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-13-01984-PHX-JAT Vision Air America Incorporated, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 16 17 Before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for entry of default judgment. (Doc. 16). The Court now rules on the motion. 18 In support of its Motion, Plaintiff offers declarations of its Vice President and its 19 attorney, specifying the amount of damages and costs Plaintiff has incurred and the 20 interest that has accrued. Plaintiff also offers the written agreement and invoices relating 21 to the contract at issue. 22 Once the Clerk of Court has entered default, the plaintiff may apply for entry of 23 default judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2). Rule 55(b) provides for the entry of 24 default judgment by the Clerk or by the Court. Entry by the Clerk is proper when the 25 amount of damages is “for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by 26 computation.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1). Entry by the Court is proper “[i]n all other 27 cases.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2). Plaintiff originally sought entry by the Clerk under Rule 28 55(b)(1), but as explained below, some amounts requested by Plaintiff were not clear to 1 the Clerk or to the Court. Accordingly, the Court considers the motion under Rule 2 55(b)(2). 3 When the Court considers the entry of default judgment, the well-pleaded “factual 4 allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be 5 taken as true.” Geddes v. United Fin. Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977) (citing 6 Pope v. United States, 323 U.S. 1, 12 (1944)); see TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 7 F.2d 915, 917 (9th Cir. 1987); Danning v. Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir. 1978). 8 However, “[a] default judgment must not differ in kind from, or exceed in amount, what 9 is demanded in the pleadings.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(3). Thus, 10 “necessary facts not contained in the pleadings, and claims which are legally insufficient, 11 are not established by default.” Cripps v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 980 F.2d 1261, 1267 12 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Danning, 572 F.2d at 1388). Unless “the amount claimed is 13 liquidated or capable of ascertainment from definite figures,” the Court generally should 14 hold a hearing to determine the proper amount of damages. Dundee Cement Co. v. 15 Howard Pipe & Concrete Prods., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983); see Fed. R. 16 Civ. P. 55(b)(2). 17 Here, the declaration of Plaintiff’s Vice President and the written agreement 18 produced by Plaintiff show that Defendants agreed to pay $87,230.91 as well as a 2% per 19 month late payment penalty. The record also establishes that Defendants paid $20,000 20 toward this debt in March of 2012. Plaintiff’s materials also establish that the total 21 amount in late penalties that have accrued from the March 2012 payment until the filing 22 of this action in September 2013 is $22,848 ($1,344 per month x 17 months). Thus, 23 according to Plaintiff’s materials submitted in support of its motion for default judgment, 24 “the total owing, due, and unpaid by [Defendants] . . . is $90,078.91 ($67,230.91 unpaid 25 invoice + $22,848.00 late payment penalty).” The Complaint demands the same amount 26 for damages. This amount is “ascertainable from definite figures,” Dundee Cement Co., 27 722 F.2d at 1323, so no hearing is necessary to determine the amount owed Plaintiff 28 under the breach of contract claim. Because the damages demanded by the Complaint and -2- 1 motion for default judgment are identical in amount and kind, the Court will enter default 2 judgment for Plaintiff in the amount of $90,078.91. 3 The Court will similarly enter default judgment on Plaintiff’s demand for costs. 4 The Complaint clearly demanded “costs of suit herein incurred,” and the declaration of 5 Plaintiff’s counsel sufficiently establishes that Plaintiff has incurred a $400 filing fee and 6 $485 in service of process fees. Accordingly, the Court will enter default judgment for 7 Plaintiff in the amount of $885 without conducting a hearing. 8 Plaintiff also initially requested prejudgment interest in the amount of $13,440. 9 Because the correct method of calculating interest was unclear from the motion for 10 default judgment, the Court scheduled a hearing. The day before the hearing, Plaintiff 11 filed a Notice of Lodging Proposed Form of Default Judgment, (Doc. 21), in which it 12 amended or clarified its interest request. Specifically, Plaintiff stated that under A.R.S. 13 § 44-1201(A), it is entitled to an interest rate of 10% per annum on the principal amount 14 and late penalties owed. Plaintiff stated that the interest on the principal amount should 15 begin accruing as of February 29, 2012, and the interest on the late penalties should begin 16 accruing on August 1, 2013.1 These rates and dates parallel the Complaint’s request for 17 interest “at the legal rate.” (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 1–2). The Court will therefore award 18 prejudgment interest on the principle and late penalties at the statutory rate of 10% per 19 annum. 20 Plaintiff also requests that the Court award interest on the taxable costs, and that 21 all interest be awarded from the accrual dates “until paid in full.” However, pre-judgment 22 interest, as the name implies, does not accrue after judgment. This, of course, does not 23 foreclose Plaintiff’s right to post-judgment interest before the judgment is satisfied, see 24 28 U.S.C. § 1961, but the pre-judgment interest award reflects what Plaintiff is owed at 25 entry of default judgment, not what it may be owed at some time in the future. Thus, the 26 Court will award pre-judgment interest only on the principal and late penalties, according 27 28 1 This date is apparently derived from the last month Plaintiff charged late penalties, July 2013. -3- 1 to the accrual dates listed above, ending on the date of this judgment. 2 In sum, the Court will award prejudgment interest in the amount of $19,609.02 3 ($67,230.91 x 10% x (35 months / 12)) for the principal amount and $3,427.20 (($22,848 4 x 10% x (18 months / 12)) for the late penalty amount, a total of $23,036.22. The Court 5 will also award Plaintiff $90,078.91 in damages for the principal and late penalties, and 6 $885 in costs. Therefore, the Court will grant a total default judgment award of 7 $114,000.13. 8 Accordingly, 9 IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for entry of default judgment, (Doc. 16), 10 is GRANTED. Defendants Vision Air America Incorporated and Artur Niewiadowski 11 are jointly and severally liable to Plaintiff Composite Industrie SA for $114,000.13, plus 12 post-judgment interest accruing from today at the applicable federal rate. 13 Dated this 17th day of February, 2015. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?