Hamilton v. Singleton et al
ORDER denying 42 Motion for Order to Enter Default Judgment. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on March 28, 2014. (mll)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Civil No. 4:13-cv-4038
JAMES SINGLETON; JOAN
MCCLEAN; JOHNNY GODBOLT;
and STEPHEN GLOVER
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for an Order to Enter Default Judgment on the
Defendants for Failure to Respond or Defend Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
42). The Defendants did not respond. The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the
entry of a final judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 36. Pursuant to
this authority, the Court finds this Motion ready for decision and issues this Order.
In his Motion, Plaintiff moves the Court to enter a default judgment against Defendants
because they failed to respond to Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff also asks the
Court to grant his Motion for Summary Judgment.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55: “[w]hen a party against whom a
judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that
failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party’s default.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 55(a).
Entry of a default under Rule 55(a) must proceed the grant of a default
judgment under Rule 55(b). See Johnson v. Dayton Elec. Mfg. Co., 140 F.3d 781, 783 (8th
Cir. 1998). It is within the discretion of the Court to determine whether a default judgment
should be entered against a party under Rule 55(b). See Ackra, 86 F.3d at 856. Entry of default
judgment, however, is not favored and “should be a rare judicial act.” In re Jones Truck Lines, Inc.,
63 F.3d 685, 688 (8th Cir. 1995) (internal quotations and citations omitted). When a default
judgment is sought for a party’s failure to defend, the Court must consider whether the party’s
actions were “willful violations of court rules, contumacious conduct, or intentional delays.” Ackra,
86 F.3d at 856 (internal quotations and citations omitted).
“[D]efault judgment is not an
appropriate sanction for a marginal failure to comply with time requirements.” Id.
On June 7, 2013, the Court granted Defendants an extension to respond to Plaintiff’s Motion
for Summary Judgment. This Order provided Defendants until August 5, 2013 to file a response.
ECF No. 27.
On August 5, 2013, Defendants filed a “Response to Plaintiff’s Statement of Facts (Doc.
23).” ECF No. 37. This Response is to the document Plaintiff titles “Declaration in Support of
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.” Simultaneously with this Response, Defendants filed
their own Motion for Summary Judgment, Statement of Facts, and Memorandum Brief. ECF Nos.
The Court construes Defendants’ Response to Plaintiff’s Statement of Facts along with their
Motion for Summary Judgment as a response to Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
Additionally, these documents were timely filed in compliance with the Court’s June 7, 2013
Accordingly, the Court will consider Defendants’ Response and rule on Plaintiff’s Motion
for Summary Judgment on the merits. Plaintiff’s Motion for an Order to Enter Default Judgment
on the Defendants for Failure to Respond or Defend Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 42) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 28th day of March 2014.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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