Minnesota Life Insurance Company v. Kingkade et al
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING re 30 MOTION for Default Judgment. Case is deferred to Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey for mediation. Signed by Judge William C Lee on 7/29/14. (eml)Text Modified on 7/29/2014 (eml).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
MINNESOTA LIFE INSURANCE
HOWARD C. KINGKADE, JOHN B.
KINGKADE, WINSTON KINGKADE,
J.B.K. (a minor) and T.R.K. (a minor),
HOWARD C. KINGKADE,
JOHN B. KINGKADE, WINSTON
KINGKADE, J.B.K. (a minor), and
T.R.K. (a minor),
CIVIL NO. 2:13cv212
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on a Motion for Default Judgment, filed by the
Defendant/Cross-Claimant, Howard. C. Kingkade (“Howard”) on June 6, 2014. On June 11,
2014, Defendant/Cross-Defendant, Winston Kingkade (“Winston”), who is not represented by
counsel, sent a letter to the undersigned, which was filed in the record on June 13, 2014.
Winston is the father of the two minors in this action, J.B.K. and T.R.K. The court also notes
that on May 5, 2014, Defendant/Cross-Defendant John B. Kingkade (“John”), who is also not
represented by counsel, sent a letter to the undersigned, which was filed in the record on May 19,
For the following reasons, the motion for default judgment will be denied.
Rule 55(a) provides that 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, the clerk must enter the party’s default. On March 11, 2014, Howard filed a motion
for Clerk’s entry of default, which default was entered on March 21, 2014.
Rule 55(b)(2) sets forth how a party may apply to the court for a default judgment, and
also states that the court “may conduct hearings or make referrals” when it needs to investigate
matters in order to enter or effectuate judgment.
In the present case, although neither Winston or John (or his minor children) filed a
responsive pleading within the proper time, it is clear that both Winston and John have now
“entered an appearance” in this case. Moreover, in Winston’s case, he states in his letter that
“[t]he reason I have not written sooner is due to my military training and recent change of
address.” Winston has informed the court in his letter that he is a Petty Officer First Class in the
United States Coast Guard.
It is the policy of this court to decide cases on the merits whenever possible. Default is
not favored. This case was originally instituted by Minnesota Life Insurance Company, in an
effort to find the true beneficiary of proceeds of a life insurance policy. On February 25, 2014,
this court entered an order granting Minnesota Life’s request for fees and costs (in part), and on
February 28, 2014, Minnesota Life deposited the balance of the funds, $37,338.07 with the court.
Obviously, these funds will be consumed by attorney fees if each of the parties were to hire
attorneys and litigate this insurance dispute. Therefore, in order to move this case forward
without causing undue expense, the court will refer the case to Magistrate Judge Roger B.
Cosbey for a mediation. The motion for default judgment will be denied.
On the basis of the foregoing, the motion for default judgment [DE 30] is hereby
DENIED. The court REFERS this matter to Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey for proceedings
consistent with this order.
Entered: July 29, 2014.
s/ William C. Lee
William C. Lee, Judge
United States District Court
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