Wade v. Main Stream Motors, LLC
DECISION AND ORDER: Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 6) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. If Defendant wishes to defend this action, it must appear through counsel and move to set aside the Clerk's Entry of Default by 4/21/17. If Defendant has not complied with these directives by 4/21/17, Plaintiff shall refile her Motion for Default Judgment at that time. SO ORDERED. Signed by Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. on 3/20/17. A copy of this Decision and Order and NEF has been mailed to Main Stream Motors, 997 Broad Street, Rochester, NY 14606. (SCE)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Case # 15-CV-6556-FPG
DECISION AND ORDER
MAIN STREAM MOTORS, LLC,
This action was commenced by Plaintiff Shalondra Wade on September 17, 2015, and
alleges that Defendant Main Stream Motors, LLC, violated the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1638(a)(6) by failing to disclose the number, amount, and due dates of payments in connection
with an auto loan Plaintiff received from Defendant on or about February 18, 2015. The proof of
service filed with the Court reflects that a copy of the Summons and Complaint were personally
served on Defendant Main Stream Motors, LLC, by serving managing member Rapheal
Williams, at Main Stream Motors, LLC, 997 Broad Street, Suite A, Rochester, NY 14606, on
October 1, 2015. ECF No. 3. The Summons informed Defendant that they were required to
answer the Complaint within 21 days, and further warned Defendant that “if you fail to respond,
judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint.” Id.
On March 31, 2016, Plaintiff requested that the Clerk of Court enter default against
Defendant pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a), as more than 21 days had passed since Defendant
was served, and Defendant had not responded to the Complaint in any fashion. ECF No. 4. The
Certificate of Service attached to the request for entry of default indicates that a copy of the
application was sent to Main Street Motors, LLC, c/o Rapheal A. Williams, 997 Broad Street,
Suite A, Rochester, NY 14606. ECF No. 4-3. The Clerk of Court entered the requested default
on March 31, 2016. ECF No. 5. In addition, the Clerk of Court mailed a copy of the Entry of
Default to Defendant at Main Street Motors, LLC, 997 Broad Street, Suite A, Rochester, NY
On May 3, 2016, Plaintiff moved for a default judgment against Defendant, since the
Defendant had still not responded to the Complaint in any fashion. ECF No. 6. The Certificate
of Service attached to the default judgment motion also indicates that a copy of the application
was sent to Main Street Motors, LLC, c/o Rapheal A. Williams, 997 Broad Street, Suite A,
Rochester, NY 14606. ECF No. 6-2.
Two weeks later, on May 17, 2016, the Court received a letter from Raphael A. Williams.
ECF No. 7. That brief letter avers that Mr. Williams “have not received or yet to receive any
legal documents from United States District Court, Buffalo Division. Any documents mails and
received at 997 Broad Street, Rochester NY 14606 were signed off by office personel. (sic) Our
office manager at this location is authorized to sign in my absence. I was recently made aware
of: Case No. 6:15-cv-06556-FPG Shalondra Wade vs. Mainstream Motors, LLC. Please let me
know of any action required on our part or any pending court dates.”
In response, Plaintiff argues that this letter further demonstrates that Main Street Motors
was properly served, yet they have failed to answer the Complaint. See ECF No. 8.
Defendant has been extremely dilatory in defending this action. Nevertheless, I will give
Defendant a brief opportunity to attempt to correct their deficiencies in this case, if they can meet
the applicable legal standards.
First, Defendant Mainstream Motors, LLC is a corporation, so Raphael Williams cannot
appear pro se on behalf of Defendant. As the Second Circuit has repeatedly held, “[i]t is settled
law that a corporation may not appear in a lawsuit against it except through an attorney, and that,
where a corporation repeatedly fails to appear by counsel, a default judgment may be entered
against it pursuant to Rule 55, F[ed]. R. Civ. P.” Grace v. Bank Leumi Trust Co. of NY, 443 F.3d
180, 192 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting SEC v. Research Automation Corp., 521 F.2d 585, 589 (2d Cir.
If Defendant wishes to defend against this action, its counsel must file a Notice of
Appearance with this Court by April 21, 2017.
Second, if Defendant does appear through counsel in this action by April 21, 2017, they
still must satisfy the criteria to set aside the Clerk’s Entry of Default in order to defend against
this action. Specifically, a Clerk’s entry of default may be set aside “for good cause.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 55(c). The standard for setting aside the Clerk’s entry of default is less rigorous than the
“excusable neglect” standard for setting aside a default judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b). See
Meehan v. Snow, 652 F.2d 274, 276 (2d Cir. 1981). Under the Meehan test, the principal factors
to be considered in deciding to relieve a party of a default are: (1) willfulness; (2) prejudice to
the adverse party; and (3) the existence of a meritorious defense. Id. at 277. The Court intimates
no view on whether Defendant could satisfy these criteria, and will make such a determination if,
and when, counsel on behalf of Defendant makes such a request.
However, if such an
application is going to be made by Defendant, it too must be filed by April 21, 2017.
Finally, if Defendant has not complied with these directives by April 21, 2017, Plaintiff
shall refile her Motion for Default Judgment, and the Court will consider the motion at that time.
For all of these reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 6) is DENIED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE. If Defendant wishes to defend this action, it must appear through
counsel and move to set aside the Clerk’s Entry of Default by April 21, 2017. If Defendant has
not complied with these directives by April 21, 2017, Plaintiff shall refile her Motion for Default
Judgment at that time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Rochester, New York
March 20, 2017
HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR.
United States District Court
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