Manga v. Edward
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 9/26/2017. (c/m 9/27/17)(krs, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
EDWARD KNOX, JR.
Civil Action No. ELH-17-1207
LINDA E. MCMAHON, Administrator,
U.S. Small Business Administration
On December 7, 2016, self-represented plaintiff Maria Manga filed a complaint in the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Edward Knox, Jr. (originally
sued as Knox Edward, Jr.), Deputy District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration
(“SBA”) in Baltimore. ECF 1. She filed a nine-page amended complaint on January 4, 2017.
ECF 5. Plaintiff alleges that she was subject to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by
Knox, based on her national origin, ancestry, and skin color. Id. at 1. On April 5, 2017, Judge
Boasberg issued a “Transfer Order,” transferring the case to the District of Maryland. ECF 7.
Summons was executed upon Linda E. McMahon, Administrator of the SBA, on June 9, 2017.
Several motions are pending: plaintiff‟s Motion to Amend Caption (ECF 12), filed on
May 24, 2017; plaintiff‟s “Request for Clerk‟s Entry of Default” (ECF 22), filed on August 21,
2017; McMahon‟s Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) (ECF 23), filed on
September 1, 2017; plaintiff‟s “Request for Clerk‟s Entry of Default for Judgement” (ECF 25)
(construed as an Amended Motion for Clerk‟s Entry of Default), filed on September 5, 2017; and
plaintiff‟s “Motion to Dismiss Defendant‟s Motion for Summary Judgement [and] Motion to
Proceed with the Default Judgment” (ECF 27), filed on September 20, 2017.
The dispositive motions are not the subject of this Memorandum.
No hearing is
necessary to resolve the remaining motions. Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I
shall grant plaintiff‟s Motion to Amend Caption (ECF 12). But, I shall deny plaintiff‟s Motion
for Clerk‟s Entry of Default (ECF 22) and her Amended Motion for Clerk‟s Entry of Default
Motion to Amend Caption
In her Motion to Amend Caption, plaintiff requests leave to “amend the caption of her
complaint to reflect the name of Agency as the appropriate defendant.” ECF 12 at 1. By
“Agency,” she seems to refer to Linda McMahon, Administrator of the SBA. Although it
appears that plaintiff seeks to add McMahon, there is no indication that she seeks to substitute
McMahon for Knox. In any event, the Motion to Amend Caption is unopposed. Because the
amendment is appropriate under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c), I shall grant the Motion to Amend
Caption, adding McMahon as a defendant in her official capacity.1
Motion for Clerk’s Entry of Default
Plaintiff filed a “Request for Clerk‟s Entry of Default” on August 21, 2017 (ECF 22), and
submitted a “Request for Clerk‟s Entry of Default for Judgement” on September 5, 2017. ECF
25. The submission of the amended motion (ECF 25) renders moot the original motion (ECF
22). Therefore, I shall deny ECF 22 as moot.
Plaintiff periodically refers to other persons as defendants. For example, in ECF 25,
plaintiff seems to include “Jeff Sessions” as a defendant. Id. at 1. But, on page 7 of ECF 25, she
omits reference to the Attorney General as a defendant and instead seeks judgment, inter alia,
against Stephen Umberger, Director, SBA Baltimore District Office. This is not the proper way
to add defendants to the case. The Court will not regard either Sessions or Umberger as
-- 2 --
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55 lays out the proper procedure for seeking an entry of default and a
default judgment. If a defendant has not responded to the complaint within the prescribed time,
the clerk must enter the defendant‟s default. Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Thereafter, the plaintiff may
move for a default judgment, but “„[a] defendant‟s default does not in itself warrant the court in
entering a default judgment. There must be a sufficient basis in the pleadings for the judgment
Worsham v. Travel Options, Inc., 678 F. App‟x 165 (4th Cir. 2017) (citations
The procedural failings of plaintiff‟s motion aside, entry of default is inappropriate at this
juncture. First, defendants did not default. As McMahon stated in her Opposition to Plaintiff‟s
Amended Motion for Default Judgment (ECF 26), McMahon was served on June 9, 2017 (ECF
17), the U.S. Attorney General was served June 12, 2017 (ECF 18), and the U.S. Attorney‟s
Office was not properly served but acknowledges receipt of the complaint on July 3, 2017. ECF
26 at 3. Notably, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(2) provides that a United States agency has 60 days to
answer a complaint after service upon the U.S. Attorney. Therefore, defendant‟s response was
not due until September 1, 2017.
On September 1, 2017, McMahon timely responded to the amended complaint with a
Motion to Dismiss. ECF 23. Thus, McMahon never defaulted. Although Knox did not join the
Motion, based on the filing by plaintiff of ECF 12, Knox may have thought plaintiff thought to
substitute McMahon as the defendant. Knox will be directed to respond.
Moreover, Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(d) states that “[a] default judgment may be entered against
the United States, its officers, or its agencies only if the claimant establishes a claim or right to
relief by evidence that satisfies the court.” It is clear that this standard has not yet been met.
Furthermore, the Fourth Circuit has consistently expressed a “strong preference that cases be
-- 3 --
decided on their merits.” Aikens v. Ingram, 652 F.3d 496, 523 (4th Cir. 2011). See also, e.g.,
U.S. v. Mraz, 274 F. Supp. 2d 750, 756 (D. Md. 2003).
For these reasons, I shall deny the Amended Motion for Clerk‟s Entry of Default (ECF
An Order follows, consistent with this Memorandum.
Date: September 26, 2017
Ellen Lipton Hollander
United States District Judge
-- 4 --
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?