United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Camber Corporation has asked the Court to enter a default
judgment against defendant Viatech, Inc. (Doc. 14). Camber
filed this suit on March 24, 2016. (Doc. 1). Camber alleges
that Viatech breached its subcontract with Camber when
Viatech failed to pay several invoices that Camber submitted
for supplies and services provided under the subcontract.
(Doc. 1). Viatech, through counsel, executed a
waiver of the service of summons on June 20, 2016, and then
fell silent; Viatech did not respond to the complaint. (Doc.
9). On November 2, 2016, the Clerk of Court made an entry of
default against Viatech. (Doc. 12). Camber then filed its
motion asking the Court to enter a default judgment against
Viatech. (Doc. 14). In support of this motion, Camber has
filed a brief, an affidavit, and copies of its subcontract
with Viatech. (Docs. 15, 16-1). For the reasons stated below,
the Court grants Camber's motion and enters a default
judgment against Viatech.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 establishes a two-step procedure
for obtaining a default judgment. First, when a defendant
fails to plead or otherwise defend a lawsuit, the clerk of
court may enter a clerk's default. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a).
Second, after entry of the clerk's default, if the
defendant is not an infant or an incompetent person, a court
may enter a default judgment against the defendant because of
the defendant's failure to appear or defend. Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2). “A default judgment must not differ in kind
from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded in the
pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(c).
motion for default judgment is not granted as a matter of
right.” Pitts ex rel. Pitts v. Seneca Sports,
Inc., 321 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1356 (S.D. Ga. 2004) (internal
footnote omitted). After a clerk enters a default pursuant to
Rule 55(a), a court must review the sufficiency of the
complaint and its underlying substantive merits to determine
whether a moving party is entitled to default judgment.
Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1370
n.41 (11th Cir. 1997). A court must ensure that the
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint state a substantive
cause of action and that a sufficient basis exists in the
pleadings for the relief sought. Cotton v. Mass. Mut.
Life Ins. Co., 402 F.3d 1267, 1278 (11th Cir. 2005). In
addition to the pleadings, a court may consider evidence
presented in the form of an affidavit or declaration.
Frazier v. Absolute Collection Serv., Inc., 767
F.Supp.2d 1354, 1362 (N.D.Ga. 2011). A defaulting defendant
“admits the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of
fact” for purposes of liability. Buchanan v.
Bowman, 820 F.2d 359, 361 (11th Cir. 1987) (quoting
Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd. v. Houston National
Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975) (internal
quotation marks omitted)).
alleges that on March 22, 2013, it entered into an
“indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity
subcontract” with Viatech. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Camber
indicates that this subcontract was associated with a primary
contract between Viatech and the United States. (Doc. 1, p.
3). Camber was to provide “engineering, logistics, and
business operations support” to Viatech per individual
purchase and task orders from Viatech. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Under
the subcontract, Viatech was obligated to remit payments to
Camber for properly submitted invoices within five business
days of receiving payment on the primary contract from the
United States. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8).
alleges that in December 2014, Viatech stopped remitting
payments for invoices that Camber submitted to the company
under the subcontract. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Camber contends
that Viatech failed to make the required payments even though
the United States had paid Viatech under the primary
contract. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Despite Viatech's delinquency,
Camber continued to respond to Viatech's purchase and
task orders for the better part of a year. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7).
In December 2015, Camber and Viatech entered a forbearance
agreement to allow Viatech to pay off the overdue invoices.
(Doc. 1, pp. 7-9). Viatech made only two payments under the
forbearance agreement. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Based on the table
Camber includes in its complaint, Camber stopped submitting
invoices to Viatech in February, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
entering a default judgment, the Court first must ensure that
it has subject matter jurisdiction over the case. See
Burke v. Smith, 252 F.3d 1260, 1263 (11th Cir. 2001)
(“Generally, a judgment is void under Rule 60(b)(4) if
the court that rendered it lacked jurisdiction of the subject
matter, or of the parties, or if it acted in a manner
inconsistent with due process of law.”) (internal
quotations omitted); see also Smarter Every Day, LLC v.
Nunez, 2017 WL 1247500, at *2 (N.D. Ala. Apr. 5, 2017).
Camber asserts that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the
parties are completely diverse, and more than $75, 000 is in
controversy. (Doc. 1, pp. 2-3). Camber alleges that it is a
Delaware corporation headquartered in Alabama, and Camber
alleges that Viatech is a New Jersey corporation. (Doc. 1, p.
2). To complete the jurisdictional picture, the Court takes
note of the fact that the subcontract, a copy of which Camber
attached to its complaint, lists Viatech's primary place
of business as Eatontown, New Jersey. (Doc. 1-1, p.
Therefore, in the absence of record evidence to the contrary,
the Court finds that the parties are completely diverse.
the amount in controversy, Camber claims that the invoices
that Viatech left unpaid total $1, 005, 546.69. (Doc. 1, p.
6; Doc. 15, p. 4). In both the complaint and the motion for
default judgment, Camber includes a table listing the date
and the amount of each invoice that the company alleges
Viatech did not pay. (Doc. 1, p. 6; Doc. 15, p. 4). Camber
also supports the total amount of damages the company claims
with the declaration of Mike Whyte, Camber's custodian of
records. (Doc. 16-1, p. 2). In light of Camber's
allegations and the supporting declaration, the Court is
satisfied that more than $75, 000 is in controversy.
Therefore, the Court determines that it has subject matter
jurisdiction over this case.
enter a valid default judgment, a court also must have
personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Oldfield v.
Pueblo De Bahia Lora, S.A., 558 F.3d 1210, 1217 (11th
Cir. 2009). To determine whether a district court has
personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, the
Court typically applies a two-prong test that asks whether
the state's long arm statute confers jurisdiction over
the defendant, and, if so, whether the defendant has
sufficient contacts with the forum to satisfy the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Melgarejo v.
Pysca Panama, S.A., 537 Fed.Appx. 852, 858-59 (11th Cir.
2013). Alabama's long-arm statute permits courts within
the state, including federal courts, to exercise jurisdiction
to the extent allowed by the Due Process Clause. Mut.
Serv. Ins. ...