Guardian Life Insurance Co of America v. Jones et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting 23 Motion to Set Aside Default entered on March 30, 2015 19 . Signed by Judge Robert G James on 4/10/15. (crt,DickersonSld, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
THE GUARDIAN LIFE INSURANCE
COMPANY OF AMERICA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 15-00060
JUDGE ROBERT G. JAMES
KIMYA JONES AND
MAG. JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES
On January 12, 2015, Plaintiff The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
(“Guardian”) brought this interpleader action against Defendants Kimya Jones (“Jones”) and Agnes
Guardian served Moore with the Complaint on January 21, 2015, and with the Amended
Complaint on February 24, 2015. [Doc. Nos. 7 & 12]. Jones filed an Answer to the original
Complaint [Doc. No. 8] and to the Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 13]. Moore did not file an answer
to the Complaint or Amended Complaint or seek an extension of time to answer.
On March 24, 2015, Guardian and Jones filed a joint motion for a consent judgment, for
issuance of a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment, and for dismissal. [Doc. No. 14].
Guardian and Jones also filed a stipulation [Doc. No. 15] in support of the joint motions. The court
granted the motions, issuing a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment [Doc. No. 16] and
dismissing the claims against Jones [Doc. No. 17].
On March 27, 2015, Guardian filed a request for entry of default [Doc. No. 18] against
Moore. The Clerk of Court entered the default on March 30, 2015. [Doc. No. 19].
On April 8, 2015, Moore, through counsel, filed a proposed Answer [Doc. No. 21].
However, the Clerk of Court then issued a Notice of Deficiency [Doc. No. 22], explaining that
Moore had to file a motion to set aside the default before the deficiency would be removed.
On April 9, 2015, Moore filed the instant “Motion to Set Aside Default” [Doc. No. 23].
Rule 55(c) provides that a district court “may set aside an entry of default for good cause.”
As the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has recognized, “[w]e have adopted a
policy in favor of resolving cases on their merits and against the use of default judgments.” In re
Chinese–Manufactured Drywall Prods. Liab. Litig., 742 F.3d 576, 594 (5th Cir.2014) (citing Rogers
v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 167 F.3d 933, 936 (5th Cir.1999)). “‘This policy, however, is
counterbalanced by considerations of social goals, justice and expediency, a weighing process [that]
lies largely within the domain of the trial judge’s discretion.’” Id. (quoting Rogers, 167 F.3d at 936)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted)).
In this case, the Court finds good cause to set aside the entry of default. Moore was acting
without counsel. When notified that a default had been entered, she promptly retained counsel,
attempted to file an answer, and did file the proper motion to set aside the default. Finally, the
lawsuit is in the early stages of litigation, and Guardian will suffer no prejudice by the Court’s
IT IS ORDERED that Moore’s Motion to Set Aside Default [Doc. No. 23] is GRANTED,
and the default entered on March 30, 2015 [Doc. No. 19] is SET ASIDE.
MONROE, LOUISIANA, this 10th day of April, 2015.
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