United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
above-entitled civil action is before the Court on Plaintiff
Joe Hand Promotions Inc.'s (“JHP”) Motion for
Default Judgment. (Doc. 24). JHP seeks a judgment by default
against Defendants Eric Albright and Whiskey Creek Bar and
Grill, LLC (“Whiskey Creek”) with respect to all
claims alleged in its complaint.
filed the complaint in this action on November 23, 2016.
(Doc. 1). JHP then filed its Amended Complaint on March 27,
2017. (Doc. 13). JHP “is a company that specializes in
distributing and licensing premier sporting events to
commercial locations such as bars.” (Id. at
3). Here, JHP “held the exclusive commercial
distribution rights to the broadcast of Ultimate Fighting
Championship® 197: Jones v. Saint Preux
telecast nationwide on April 23, 2016.” (Id.
at 1). In its Amended Complaint, JHP alleges that the
Defendants violated the Communications Act of 1934 when they
aired a showing of the UFC fight in the bar one evening.
(Id. at 2-5).
summons and Amended Complaint were served on Albright and
Whiskey Creek on April 20, 2017. (Doc. 18); (Doc. 19). On May
18, 2017, after Defendants failed to appear, answer, or
otherwise defend, JHP filed two Motions for Entry of Default.
(Doc. 20); (Doc. 21). The Clerk filed the Entry of Default
against both Defendants on May 22, 2017. (Doc. 22). JHP filed
its Motion for Default Judgment on September 29, 2017. (Doc.
support for its Motion for Default Judgment, JHP has
submitted the declaration of F. Page Gamble, the attorney of
record for JHP. (Doc. 24-2). The affidavit establishes that
“Defendants are not infants, incompetent persons, or
persons in military service or otherwise exempted from
default judgment under the Service Members Civil Relief Act
of 2003.” (Id. at 1).
Standards and Analysis
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 provides in pertinent part:
(a) Entering a Default. When a party against
whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed
to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by
affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's
(b) Entering a Default Judgment.
(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 hearings or make referrals--preserving
any federal statutory right to a jury trial--when, to enter
or effectuate judgment, it needs to:
(A) conduct an accounting;
(B) determine the amount of damages;
(C) establish the truth of any allegation by
(D) investigate any other matter.
default has been entered against the Defendants, the
allegations of JHP's Amended Complaint are taken as true.
See 10A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller &
Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2688 (3d
ed. 1998) (“If the court determines that defendant is
in default, the factual allegations of the complaint, except
those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as
Court's analysis of JHP's Motion for Default Judgment
involves a two-step process. First, the Court must satisfy
itself that it has jurisdiction over the parties and the
subject matter of the lawsuit. See Taylor v.
Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994) (holding
that district courts “always have an obligation to
examine sua sponte their jurisdiction before
reaching the merits of any claim”). Second, the Court
must ensure that JHP has satisfied the elements of Rule 55
and is entitled to the default judgment it seeks. See
Nishimatsu Constr. Co v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515
F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975) (explaining that “a
defendant's default does not in itself warrant the court
entering a default judgment” and that “[t]here
must be a sufficient basis in the pleadings for the judgment