Minnesota Life Insurance Company v. Swanner et al
ORDER GRANTING 67 Motion for Default Judgment. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter default judgment in favor of Delbert Brown and Patrick L. Brown and against Clayton Swanner. Signed by Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel on 10/4/2021. (kss)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
MINNESOTA LIFE INSURANCE
Case No. 3:20-cv-00399-GCS-NJR
CLAYTON A. SWANNER,
G.R.S. (a minor), DELBERT M. BROWN,
individually, and as Administrator of
the Estate of Cathy S. Brandenstein,
and PATRICK L. BROWN,
DELBERT M. BROWN, individually,
and as Administrator of the Estate of
Cathy S. Brandenstein, and
PATRICK L. BROWN,
CLAYTON A. SWANNER, G.R.S. (a
minor), and MINNESOTA LIFE
Counter & Cross-Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSENSTENGEL, Chief Judge:
This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Default Judgment filed by CrossPlaintiffs Delbert M. Brown, individually, and as the Administrator of the Estate of Cathy
S. Brandenstein, and Patrick L. Brown (Doc. 67).
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The Clerk of Court entered default against Cross-Defendant Clayton Swanner
pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on May 21, 2021 (Doc. 64).
Delbert Brown and Patrick Brown have now filed a motion for default judgment under
Rule 55(b)(2) (Doc. 67). A response to the motion has not been filed.
Rule 55(a) requires the clerk to enter default when 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. FED. R. CIV. P. 55(a). The clerk’s entry of a
default “is merely a formal matter and does not constitute entry of a judgment.” 10A
Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2682 (3d ed. 2010).
After default has been established, the moving party must then seek entry of a default
judgment. In re Catt, 368 F.3d 789, 793 (7th Cir. 2004). Pursuant to this District Court’s
Local Rules, a motion for default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b) shall contain a
statement that a copy of the motion was mailed to the last known address of the party
from whom default judgment is sought. SDIL-LR 55.1. If the moving party knows, or
reasonably should know, the identity of an attorney thought to represent the defaulted
party, the motion shall also state that a copy was mailed to that attorney. Id.
In this case, the Clerk has properly entered default under Rule 55(a). Further, the
Court finds that the requirements of Local Rule 55.1 are satisfied. Accordingly, the Court
GRANTS the Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. 67) and finds that Clayton Swanner
intentionally and unjustifiably caused the death of Cathy S. Brandenstein. The Court
further finds that Swanner is thus disqualified as the beneficiary of the policies at issue
in this cross-claim due to the action of 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-6.
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The Court further awards Delbert and Patrick Brown their costs of suit in this
cross-claim. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment in favor of Delbert
Brown and Patrick Brown and against Clayton Swanner.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: October 4, 2021
NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL
Chief U.S. District Judge
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