Guevara v. Ale House Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER Granting MOTION to Vacate Clerk's Entry of Default and For Leave To File an Answer (D.I. 30 ). Defendants are granted leave to file their answer to the complaint within three days following entry of this Memorandum Order. The Court's Order of November 13, 2015, is VACATED. Defendants are ORDERED to respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Expedited Certification of Collective Action etc. (D.I. 18 ) within ten days. Plaintiff's Motion for Contempt (D.I. 27 ) is DISMISSED. Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 5/10/2016. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELA WARE
Civil Action No. 15-409-RGA
THE ALE HOUSE INC., et al.,
Plaintiff filed suit against the three defendants on May 20, 2015. The Clerk entered
defaults against the defendants on July 22, August 20, and September 25. (D.I. 8, 11, 15). Due
to the nature of the case, no requests for default judgment were forthcoming. On December 18,
Plaintiff moved for contempt and sanctions for failure to comply with an order of November
13th. (D.I. 27). On January 20, 2016, Defendants moved to vacate the entries of default. (D.I.
The motion to vacate the Rule 55(c) default requires consideration of three factors: "(1)
whether setting aside the default would prejudice the plaintiff, [(2)] whether defendant has
asserted a meritorious defense[, and (3)] defendant's culpability in allowing the default."
Farnese v. Bagnasco, 687 F.2d 761, 764 (3d Cir. 1982). In light of these factors, I need to set
aside the defaults. Plaintiff does not argue prejudice in his brief. Plaintiff does argue that there
is no assertion of a meritorious defense, but Defendants provided a proposed "Answer and
Affirmative Defenses" to the complaint. (D.I. 30-1 at 8-31 ). It is true that the complaint is light
on factual assertions, as it consists mostly of general denials. Nevertheless, the general denials
are indeed asserted meritorious defenses. Plaintiff argues that defendants' excuse for their
dilatoriness, which is the individual Defendant's undisputed medical issues, is overstated, as
there is evidence that the individual Defendant was neither completely incapacitated during the
entirety of the relevant time period, nor prevented from trying to resolve the case by extralegal
channels. Plaintiff also faults Defendants for not authorizing counsel to defend the case more
promptly, as he was retained by December 7, but did not enter an appearance until January 4. I
assume, based on the record evidence, that Plaintiffs allegations are true. Nevertheless, given
the lack of prejudice, and the Third Circuit's understandable preference for resolution of cases on
the merits, I am going to vacate the default. Defendants' motion (D.I. 30) is GRANTED.
Defendants are GRANTED leave to file their answer to the complaint within three days
following entry of this Memorandum Order. The Court's Order of November 13, 2015, is
VACATED. Defendants are ORDERED to respond to Plaintiffs Motion for Expedited
Certification of Collective Action etc. (D.I. 18) within ten days.
In view of the resolution of the motion to vacate, and the vacation of the November 13 1h
order, Plaintiffs Motion for Contempt (D.I. 27) is DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this i_Q_ day of May 2016.
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