Woods v. Gateway Packaging Company LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, The Court GRANTS Gateway's motion to set aside the entry of default. (Doc. 15 .) The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to strike the entry of default. Woods's motion for default judgment (Doc. 11 ) is found MOOT. Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 11/16/2017. (jdh)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 3:17-cv-01027-JPG-RJD
GATEWAY PACKAGING COMPANY LLC,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
J. PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter comes before the Court on defendant Gateway Packaging Company LLC’s
(Gateway’s) motion to set aside the entry of default. (Doc. 15.) For the foregoing reasons, the
Court GRANTS Gateway’s motion.
Plaintiff John Woods filed this case on September 25, 2017. (Doc. 1.) On October 2,
2017, Woods served Gateway’s registered agent with a copy of the summons and complaint by
certified mail. (Doc. 7.) Gateway’s answer was due by October 23, 2017. Id. Gateway failed to
plead or otherwise defend the case by that date, however, and Woods moved for entry of default
on October 27, 2017. (Doc. 8.) The Clerk entered default against Gateway on October 31, 2017.
(Doc. 10.) On November 7, Woods moved for a default judgment. (Doc. 11.)
On November 8, Gateway simultaneously filed an answer to the complaint and a motion
asking this Court to set aside the entry of default pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
55(c). (Docs. 14–15.) In their motion, Gateway claims that their registered agent and chief
financial officer—Joseph Italiano—did not know that the summons and complaint had been
served on Gateway until Gateway learned of Woods’s motion for entry of default in the case.
(Doc. 15, ¶¶ 3–4.) They argue that (1) good cause exists to set aside the default because their
answer was only 16 days late; (2) they took prompt action to correct the default; (3) their answer
demonstrates that they have a meritorious defense to the suit; and (4) their late answer is not the
type of “extreme situation” in which a default should be used. Woods has filed a response that
argues good cause to overturn the default does not exist here because Gateway should be bound
to the failings of their registered agent.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c) provides that a court may set aside entry of default
for good cause. The Court should do so if the defendant shows (1) good cause for his default; (2)
quick action to correct it; and (3) a meritorious defense to the complaint. Pretzel & Stouffer v.
Imperial Adjusters, 28 F.3d 42, 45 (7th Cir. 1994); O’Brien v. R.J. O’Brien & Assocs., 998 F.2d
1394, 1401 (7th Cir. 1993); United States v. Di Mucci, 879 F.2d 1488, 1495 (7th Cir. 1989).
Here, Gateway has met all three elements. First, they have showed good cause for the
default through a simple and short-lived mistake by their registered agent. Second, they took
quick action to correct it: within 16 days, they filed their answer and asked this Court to set aside
the entry of default. Third, while the Court will not comment on this stage on the legal arguments
in the answer, Gateway has asserted what could amount to be a meritorious defense.
Accordingly, they have met their burden under Rule 55(c). As a final matter, the Court will not
grant the defendant’s request within his response for attorney’s fees at this time.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Gateway’s motion to set aside the entry
of default. (Doc. 15.) The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to strike the entry of default. Woods’s
motion for default judgment (Doc. 11) is found MOOT.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: NOVEMBER 16, 2017
s/ J. Phil Gilbert
J. PHIL GILBERT
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?