Mantouvalos v. Mantouvalos et al
Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton: ENDORSED ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, DEFAULT JUDGMENTIn accordance with the foregoing,1) defendants motion for order to show cause (Docket No. 59) is DENIED,2) DEFAULT JUDGMENT i s entered against defendant Paula Mantouvalos and3) Paula Mantouvalos is hereby ordered:a) to cooperate with Stephanie and Diane Mantouvalos to effectuate the sale of the property located at Othos Orfeos 31, Holargos, Greece,b) t o perform all acts necessary to accomplish the sale of the property, including conveyance to Stephanie of full power of attorney and authority to prepare the property for sale and to sell the property on behalf of all parties to this lawsuit, and< /p>c) to cause to be deposited in this Court the net proceeds from the sale of the property after the deduction of incurred broker and legal fees.This default judgment does not dispose of plaintiffs claims for damages, if any, against Paula Ma ntouvalos and/or Diane Mantouvalos.If and when the sale of the property results in receipt of net proceeds, the Court will entertain a motion (or motions) proposing an equitable division of such proceeds. If Paula Mantouvalos fails to comply with this order, she may be held in contempt of Court.So ordered.(Caruso, Stephanie)
United States District Court
District of Massachusetts
DIANE MANTOUVALOS and
Civil Action No.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
This case involves a long-running dispute between three
sisters, Stephanie, Diane and Paula Mantouvalos, over the sale
of inherited property in Greece located at Othos Orfeos 31,
Holargos, Greece (“the property”).
The Court ordered defendant
Paula Mantouvalos to show cause why default judgment should not
be entered against her.
For the reasons that follow, Paula has
failed to show such cause and, accordingly, judgment will be
entered against her.
Factual and Procedural Background:
The sisters inherited the disputed property when their
father died in October, 2005.
In June, 2006, the sisters signed
a Settlement Agreement (which was filed in an earlier case in
another session of this Court, “the Settlement Agreement”) with
respect to the property that states:
The property located in Greece shall be sold as soon as
possible and listed with a licensed broker.
In January, 2014, Stephanie Mantouvalos (“Stephanie” or
“plaintiff”), whose domicile is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,
filed a complaint in this Court alleging breach of contract on
the grounds that her sisters had breached the Settlement
Agreement and their covenants of good faith and fair dealing by
refusing to cooperate with the sale of the property.
November of that year, the property was valued at approximately
Diane Mantouvalos (“Diane”), whose domicile is Miami,
Florida, never responded to the complaint and in April, 2015 the
Court entered a final default judgment against her.
judgment includes injunctive relief ordering Diane to, inter
alia, cooperate with her sisters in the sale of the property and
to pay one-third of the costs related to the sale of the
Paula Mantouvalos (“Paula”), whose domicile is somewhere in
Massachusetts, answered the complaint in April, 2014 but since
then she has failed to comply with two status report deadlines.
In fact, Paula filed nothing in Court after responding to the
complaint until her counsel moved to withdraw in May, 2016 based
on a “severe breakdown in the attorney-client relationship”
because they were unable to reach her.
The Court convened a status conference in June, 2016 at
which Paula’s counsel, Attorney Paul Marino, stated that he had
attempted to locate Paula multiple times and had only been able
to speak to her one week before the hearing.
attended the conference by telephone, stated that she had
recently moved and that there was a miscommunication between her
and her attorneys.
The Court ordered Paula to show cause,
within 30 days, why she should not be defaulted and ordered to
effectuate the sale of the property.
In response to the show cause order, Paula filed what is
entitled “motion for order to show cause.”
That motion is
opposed by plaintiff and is the subject of this memorandum and
Order to Show Cause
A. Legal Standard
A court “has the discretion to order a default judgment” if
it has subject matter and personal jurisdiction, the complaint
states a particular claim and the defendant has “fair notice of
[her] opportunity to object.” In re The Home Restaurants, Inc.,
285 F.3d 111, 114 (1st Cir. 2002).
A default judgment is a
“useful remedy” when “a litigant is confronted by an
obstructionist adversary.” AngioDynamics, Inc. v. Biolitec AG,
780 F.3d 429, 436 (1st Cir.) (quoting Crispin–Taveras v.
Municipality of Carolina, 647 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2011)), cert.
denied, 136 S. Ct. 535 (2015).
Default judgment is appropriate
[w]hen 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.
AngioDynamics, Inc. v. Biolitec, Inc., 966 F. Supp. 2d 71, 73
(D. Mass. 2013) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a)).
In the present case, the prerequisites for default judgment
The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the
breach of contract claim because there is diversity of
citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
U.S.C. § 1332.
The Court also has personal jurisdiction over
Paula, Int'l Shoe Co. v. State of Wash., Office of Unemployment
Comp. & Placement, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945), and the show cause
order gave her notice of and an opportunity to object to an
entry of default judgment. In re The Home Restaurants, Inc., 285
F.3d at 114.
Moreover, Paula has failed to “otherwise defend” in this
case. Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a).
She has unnecessarily prolonged
the litigation by choosing not to inform her own counsel of her
change in contact information.
As a result, her counsel was
unable to reach her for an extended period of time.
failed to comply with two pleading deadlines.
default judgment is appropriate because Paula has obstructed the
timely disposition of this case. See AngioDynamics, Inc., 780
F.3d at 436.
Furthermore, although Paula did respond to this Court’s
order to show cause, her response is inadequate.
that judgment should not be entered against her because she has
tried to cooperate with her sister in selling the property but
does not have the financial resources to assist with the sale.
She submits that she “removed herself from this matter feeling
that the [p]laintiff had abused her cooperation.”
refusal to comply with the Settlement Agreement because of a
personal disagreement with her sister is not good cause.
In sum, because Paula has failed otherwise to defend or to
show cause why she should not be defaulted, judgment will be
entered against her.
In accordance with the foregoing,
1) defendant’s motion for order to show cause (Docket No.
59) is DENIED,
2) DEFAULT JUDGMENT is entered against defendant Paula
3) Paula Mantouvalos is hereby ordered:
a) to cooperate with Stephanie and Diane Mantouvalos
to effectuate the sale of the property located at
Othos Orfeos 31, Holargos, Greece,
b) to perform all acts necessary to accomplish the
sale of the property, including conveyance to
Stephanie of full power of attorney and authority
to prepare the property for sale and to sell the
property on behalf of all parties to this lawsuit,
c) to cause to be deposited in this Court the net
proceeds from the sale of the property after the
deduction of incurred broker and legal fees.
This default judgment does not dispose of plaintiff’s
claims for damages, if any, against Paula Mantouvalos and/or
If and when the sale of the property results in receipt
of net proceeds, the Court will entertain a motion (or
motions) proposing an equitable division of such proceeds.
Paula Mantouvalos fails to comply with this order, she may be
held in contempt of Court.
/s/ Nathaniel M. Gorton
Nathaniel M. Gorton
United States District Judge
Dated January 11, 2017
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