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PNC Bank, National Association v. Westcoop MFG Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

December 15, 2017

PNC BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTCOOP MFG., INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the court on Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. # 13), filed December 13, 2017 against Defendants Westcoop Mfg., Inc. (hereinafter “Westcoop”) and Daniel Cooper. After the Clerk of Court's Entry of Default (Doc. # 12), Plaintiff now seeks a Rule 55(b) default judgment for the full relief sought in the Complaint (Doc. # 1) in the following amounts and against the following Defendants:

1. Against Westcoop for: (i) $101, 342.54 in unpaid principal; (ii) $7, 072.65 in accrued interest as of November 27, 2017; (iii) per diem interest of $22.21 per day after November 27, 2017; (iv) late charges of $255.00; and (v) future accruals of interest and court costs.
2. Against Daniel Cooper for: (i) $101, 342.54 in unpaid principal; (ii) $7, 072.65 in accrued interest as of November 27, 2017; (iii) per diem interest of $22.21 per day after November 27, 2017; (iv) late charges of $255.00; (v) attorneys' fees of $5, 608.50, and (vi) future accruals of interest and court costs.

         (Doc. # 13 at 2-3). After this case was reassigned, the court directed Plaintiff to show cause why the case should not be transferred to another district on venue grounds. (Doc. # 10). In its response to the Show Cause Order, Plaintiff explained why venue is appropriate in this district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(3).[1] For the reasons explained below, Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. # 13) is due to be granted.

         I. Background

         In 2007, National Bank, a bank that merged with Plaintiff in 2009, loaned Defendant Westcoop $100, 000.00 under a small business line of credit. (Docs. # 1 at ¶¶ 4-5, 8; 1-1 & 1-2). Defendant Cooper signed a guaranty securing the line of credit. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 9). Under the terms of the line of credit, Westcoop is obligated to pay the holder of the loan principal, interest, and fees on the line of credit. (See Doc. # 1-2 at 3) (“The Company promises to pay to the order of Bank or any subsequent holder . . . the amount advanced pursuant to this application and the Agreement[, ] including all principal[, ] interest[, ] fees[, ] and other charges outstanding.”). Cooper guaranteed prompt payment of the loan and is jointly and severally liable for all amounts owed by Westcoop under the line of credit. (Id.). Along with his liability for the indebtedness, Cooper agreed to pay the costs and expenses of collection, including attorneys' fees and legal expenses. (Id.).

         Plaintiff extended the line of credit agreement in December 2011. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 10). Westcoop amended the line of credit to a fixed rate line of credit in November 2012. (Id. at ¶ 11). Plaintiff again extended the line of credit agreement in July 2013 until October 2014. (Id. at ¶ 10). On April 13, 2017, after Westcoop had defaulted on the line of credit, Plaintiff gave Defendant Westcoop written notice of default and a demand for payment. (Doc. # 1-6 at 2-4). It also sent the written demand to Defendant Cooper in his role as president of Westcoop. (Id. at 2). To date, Defendants have failed to pay their respective obligations under the line of credit agreement. (Doc. # 1 at ¶¶ 14-15).

         On October 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendants alleging (1) a breach of agreement claim against Defendant Westcoop and (2) a breach of guaranty claim against Defendant Cooper. (Doc. # 1). On October 31, 2017, Defendant Cooper was served in person with the Complaint and Summons at 710 20th Street North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203. (Doc. # 4 at 1). On October 31, 2017, Defendant Westcoop was served with the Complaint and Summons through personal service on its president, Daniel Cooper, at 710 20th Street North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203. (Doc. # 5 at 1). To date, neither of the Defendants have answered or otherwise appeared in this case.

         On December 1, 2017, the Magistrate Judge granted Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default. (Doc. # 7). The Clerk of Court entered default as to Cooper and Westcoop on December 13, 2017. (Doc. # 12). On that same date, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. # 13), along with the Affidavit of Pamela Carey (Doc. # 13-1) and the Affidavit of George M. Neal, Jr. (Doc. # 13-2). Carey's affidavit establishes that, as of October 10, 2017, (i) Defendants Westcoop and Cooper owed Plaintiff $101, 342.54 in unpaid principal, (ii) Defendants owed $6, 006.47 in accrued interest, and (iii) Defendants owed late charges of $255.00. (Doc. # 13-1 at 5). Carey also asserted that per diem interest on the line of credit is $22.21 per day. (Id.). Finally, she noted that Cooper is responsible for paying Plaintiff's costs of collection, including reasonable attorneys' fees. (Id. at 6). Neal's affidavit explains that the law firm of Sirote & Permutt began handling the default and litigation proceedings in August 2017. (Doc. # 13-2 at 4). He has certified that, as of November 27, 2017, Plaintiff has incurred a total of $5, 608.50 in fees for legal services from Sirote & Permutt. (Id. at 3-4). The affidavit lists the Sirote attorneys and legal professionals who have worked on the case, their level of experience, their hourly rate, and the number of hours they have worked on the case. (Id. at 4). It also notes that Plaintiff has paid $410.00 in filing fees. (Id. at 6).

         II. Analysis

         Rule 55(b) states in relevant part: (b) Entering a Default Judgment.

(1) By the Clerk. If the plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by computation, the clerk--on the plaintiff's request, with an affidavit showing the amount due--must enter judgment for that amount and costs against a defendant who has been defaulted for not appearing and who is neither a minor or incompetent person.
(2) By the Court. In all other cases, the party must apply to the court for a default judgment. A default judgment may be entered against a minor or incompetent person only if represented by a general guardian, conservator, or other like fiduciary who has appeared. If the party against whom a default judgment is sought has appeared personally or by a representative, that party or its representative must be served with written notice of the application at least 7 days before the hearing. The court may conduct ...

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