Grady v. B and E Grocery, Inc.
ORDER denying without prejudice 14 Motion for Entry of Default Final Judgment against the Defendant B and E Grocery, Inc. Signed by District Judge Martin Reidinger on 4/28/15. (ejb)
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL CASE NO. 2:14-cv-00017-MR-DLH
B AND E GROCERY, INC., d/b/a
Huddle House, and RFBC
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of
Default Final Judgment against B and E Grocery, Inc. [Doc. 14].
The Plaintiff Roland Grady filed this action against the Defendant B
and E Grocery, Inc. (B&E) on May 15, 2014, asserting that B&E violated
certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12181
et seq. (ADA). [Doc. 1]. B&E failed to plead or otherwise defend this action,
and on July 11, 2014, the Plaintiff filed a motion for an entry of default. [Doc.
8]. The Clerk made an entry of default against B&E on July 14, 2014. [Doc.
On October 3, 2014, the Plaintiff filed the present motion, seeking the
entry of a default judgment against B&E. [Doc. 14]. The Court scheduled a
hearing on the Plaintiff’s motion to be held on December 5, 2014. The
Plaintiff then moved to continue this hearing for a period of sixty days, citing
the need to obtain additional evidence and to supplement its default
judgment motion. [Doc. 17]. The Court granted the Plaintiff’s motion and
continued the default judgment hearing from the calendar. [Doc. 18].
Plaintiff’s counsel conducted discovery, and through B&E’s discovery
responses learned that another entity, RFBC Enterprises, LLC (“RFBC”),
may own the property at issue in this case. Plaintiff’s counsel thereafter
moved the Court to defer consideration of the default judgment motion while
the Plaintiff attempted to resolve the case with RFBC and B&E. [Doc. 20].
The Court granted the Plaintiff’s motion in part, deferring the default
judgment hearing for 45 days. [Doc. 21]. In its Order, the Court noted that
any motion to amend or to correct the naming of the proper defendant should
be filed within the same 45-day period. [Id. at 2]. The default judgment
hearing was later scheduled to be held on March 20, 2015.
On February 26, 2015, the Plaintiff filed a motion to amend the
Complaint to add RFBC as a defendant in this case. [Doc. 22]. The Court
granted the Plaintiff’s motion to amend and again continued the default
judgment hearing. [Doc. 24].
The Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on March 4, 2015, asserting
claims for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to the ADA against both
B&E and RFBC. After receiving an extension of time to answer [Doc. 31],
RFBC has now filed an Answer to the Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint. [Doc.
With the addition of Defendant RFBC, the Court concludes that the
Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment against B&E should be denied without
prejudice as premature. It is well-established that “when one of several
defendants who is alleged to be jointly liable defaults, judgment should not
be entered against that defendant until the matter has been adjudicated with
regard to all defendants, or all defendants have defaulted.” 10A Charles Alan
Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §
2690 (3d ed. 1998). This rule is equally applicable beyond the context of joint
and several liability to “situations in which several defendants have closely
related defenses.” Id.; see also United States ex rel. Hudson v. Peerless Ins.
Co., 374 F.2d 942, 944-45 (4th Cir. 1967). Here, the Defendants named in
this action are alleged to be jointly and severally liable to the Plaintiff. [See,
e.g., Doc. 25 at ¶ 15 (“The Defendants have discriminated, and continues
[sic] to discriminate against Grady, by denying access to the full and equal
enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and/or
accommodations of the Restaurant . . . and by failing to remove architectural
barriers at the Restaurant where such removal is readily achievable.”)]. At
the very least, it would appear that B&E could raise defenses which are
closely related to defenses raised by RFBC, which is still actively defending
this action. For these reasons, the Court finds that the appropriate procedure
for the Plaintiff to follow is to await a final ruling on the merits as to RFBC
before seeking the entry of a default judgment against B&E. See, e.g.,
Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Dennis Ins. Group, Inc., No. 3:08-cv-00173-FDW,
2009 WL 81213, at *1 (W.D.N.C. Jan. 9, 2009).
Accordingly, the Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of Default Final Judgment
against the Defendant B and E Grocery, Inc. [Doc. 14] is DENIED WITHOUT
Signed: April 28, 2015
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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