COMMUNITY VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS OF PITTSBURGH, INC. v. MILDON BUS LINES INC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION re 83 MOTION for Default Judgment against CAROLINE ABRAHAM, JOEL ABRAHAM filed by MILDON BUS LINES INC. For the reasons set forth more fully in the attached memorandum opinion, the court will deny without prejudice the motion filed by defendant Mildon Bus Lines Inc. for default judgment against third-party defendants Caroline Abraham and Joel Abraham. Signed by Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti on 02/09/2018. (nls)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SCHOOLS OF PITTSBURGH, INC., a
corporation, individually and as the
representative of a class of similarly situated
MILDON BUS LINES, INC., a Pennsylvania
Defendant/ Third Party Plaintiff,
CAROLINE ABRAHAM and JOEL
Third Party Defendants.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 09-1572
Conti, Chief District Judge
On December 20, 2016, defendant Mildon Bus Lines (“Mildon”), filed a third-party
complaint against third-party defendants Caroline Abraham and Joel Abraham for contribution
and indemnity; common law fraud; and negligence. (ECF No. 53.) Neither Caroline Abraham
nor Joel Abraham filed any response to the third-party complaint. On April 13, 2017, Mildon filed
a motion for default judgment against Caroline Abraham and Joel Abraham, (ECF No. 83), and
requested that the Clerk of Court enter defaults against them. (ECF Nos. 89, 90). The Clerk of
Court entered the defaults on April 18, 2017. (ECF Nos. 89, 90).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 permits a court to enter default judgment.
Three factors control whether a default judgment should be granted: (1) prejudice
to the plaintiff if default is denied, (2) whether the defendant appears to have a
litigable defense, and (3) whether defendant’s delay is due to culpable conduct.
Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing United States v. $55,518.05
in U.S. Currency, 728 F.2d 192, 195 (3d Cir. 1984)). “The district court has the discretion to enter
default judgment, although entry of default judgments is disfavored as decisions on the merits are
preferred.” Super 8 Motels, Inc. v. Kumar, No. 06–5231, 2008 WL 878426, at *3 (D.N.J. Apr. 1,
2008) (citation omitted). Courts are less inclined to follow Chamberlain where a defendant has
been in default and has failed to respond to a motion for default. Broadcast Music, Inc. v. George
Moore Enters., 184 F.Supp.3d 166, 170 (W.D. Pa. 2016).
By order dated February 9, 2018, the court granted summary judgment in favor of
defendant Mildon and against plaintiff Community Vocational Schools of Pittsburgh, Inc., which
would appear to moot Mildon’s requested relief against Caroline Abraham and Joel Abraham with
respect to the claims for contribution and indemnity, but did not resolve the claims for common
law fraud and negligence. The court will deny Mildon’s present motion for default judgment, and
will permit a renewed motion for default judgment to be filed subsequent to the court setting and
holding a status conference after the deadline for filing a motion to substitute a new plaintiff as
class representative has expired.
February 9, 2018
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Joy Flowers Conti
Joy Flowers Conti
Chief United States District Judge
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