PINCKNEY v. ESSEX PROBATION CHILD SUPPORT UNIT
LETTER-ORDER denying w/out prejudice 15 Motion for Default Judgment ; denying w/out prejudice 18 Motion for Default Judgment to Plaintiff re-filing any such motion(s); etc. Signed by Judge Esther Salas on 9/15/17. (DD, ) N/M
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
MARTIN LUTHER KING
50 WALNUT ST.
NEWARK, NJ 07101
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 15, 2017
Pinckney v. Essex Probation Child Support Unit, et al.
Civil Action No. 17-3794 (ES) (MAH)
On September 8, 2017, the Clerk of Court entered default against Defendants Donald
Kessler and the Essex County Family Court. (See Docket Entry Nos. 14 & 17). The Court
recognizes that Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. Below, however, the Court sets forth the various
factors that must be addressed in support of a motion for default judgment. To be sure, the Court
notes that a variation of this Letter Order—which sets forth the factors below—is posted in every
case pending before the Undersigned if the Clerk of Court enters default.
“Before entering default judgment, the Court must address the threshold issue of whether
it has personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over the parties.” Prudential Ins. Co.
of Am. v. Bramlett, No. 08-119, 2010 WL 2696459, at *1 (D.N.J. July 6, 2010).
Further, “[b]efore granting a default judgment, the Court must determine (1) whether
there is sufficient proof of service; (2) whether a sufficient cause of action was stated; and (3)
whether default judgment is proper.” Teamsters Health & Welfare Fund of Phila. & Vicinity v.
Dubin Paper Co., No. 11-7137, 2012 WL 3018062, at *2 (D.N.J. July 24, 2012) (internal
citations omitted). And, to determine whether granting default judgment is proper, the Court
must make factual findings as to: “(1) whether the party subject to default has a meritorious
defense, (2) the prejudice suffered by the party seeking default, and (3) the culpability of the
party subject to default.” Doug Brady, Inc. v. N.J. Bldg. Laborers Statewide Funds, 250 F.R.D.
171, 177 (D.N.J. 2008).
“A court does not accept as true allegations pertaining to the amount of damages.” Days
Inns Worldwide, Inc. v. Panchal, No. 15-1459, 2015 WL 5055318, at *2 (D.N.J. Aug. 25, 2015)
(citation omitted). “While the court may conduct a hearing to determine the damages amount,
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2), a damages determination may be made without a hearing as long as the
court ensures that there is a basis for the damages specified in the default judgment.” Id.
(quotation marks and textual modifications omitted).
In view of the foregoing, the pending motions for default judgment (D.E. Nos. 15 & 18)
are DENIED without prejudice to Plaintiff re-filing any such motion(s). If filing a motion for
default judgment, the Court hereby orders Plaintiff to submit a letter-brief—which addresses
each of the above factors—along with any materials in support of the default judgment motion.
Again, the Court recognizes that Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. Accordingly, the Court directs
For administrative purposes only, the Clerk of Court shall TERMINATE Docket Entry
Nos. 15 and 18. Further, the Clerk of Court shall cause this Letter Order to be transmitted to
Esther Salas, U.S.D.J.
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?