United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
H. THOMPSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
to Section 9 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §
9, plaintiff UBS Financial Services, Inc., filed a petition
for confirmation of an arbitration award against defendant
Samuel Adams Reeves. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332. This case is before the court on
UBS's motion for default judgment. For the reasons below,
the motion will be granted.
filed its petition to confirm the arbitration award on
December 11, 2017. UBS served Reeves with the summons and
petition by certified mail pursuant to Alabama law on January
2, 2018. See Return Receipt Card (doc. no. 10).
Reeves's answer was due within 21 days of service, or by
January 23, 2018. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(a)(1)(A)(i). On January 23, 2018, Reeves filed a
“notice” stating that he does not have an
attorney representing him and asking that all filings be sent
to the provided address. Notice (doc. no. 11). He did not
otherwise answer the petition.
February 16, 2018, UBS filed a request pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(1) for the clerk of court to
enter default and default judgment in the amount of $ 364,
670.27. Request for Entry of Default and Judgment (doc. no.
14). Reeves was served with the request, see Id.
(certificate of service), but did not object or otherwise
respond. On April 10, 2018, the clerk of court entered
default (doc. no. 15) but declined to enter default judgment.
clerk may enter a default judgment “[i]f the
plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain or a sum that can
be made certain by computation, ... against a defendant who
has been defaulted for not appearing and who is
neither a minor nor an incompetent person.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(1) (italics added). Here, however, Reeves
has appeared pro se by filing his “notice”--he
simply has not filed an answer or otherwise defended against
UBS's petition--so the clerk properly declined to enter a
default judgment under Rule 55(b)(1). Accordingly, the court
construed the application for default judgment as a motion
for default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2).
defendant's default alone does not warrant entry of a
default judgment.” Nyesa Costa Rica v. Wilson Cap.
Grp. Holdings, LLC, No. 11-22036-CIV, 2012 WL 1492344,
at *3 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 27, 2012) (Seitz, J.) (citation
omitted). This is so because “a default is not
‘an absolute confession by the defendant of his
liability and of the plaintiff's right to recover,'
but is instead merely ‘an admission of the facts cited
in the Complaint, which by themselves may or may not be
sufficient to establish a defendant's
liability.'” Natures Way Marine, LLC v. N. Am.
Materials, Inc., No. CIV. A. 08-0005-WS-B, 2008 WL
801702, at *2 (S.D. Ala. Mar. 24, 2008) (Steele, J.)
(citations omitted). A default judgment, including the
specific nature and extent of the relief sought, must be
adequately supported in the record. See, e.g., Boswell v.
Gumbaytay, No. 2:07-CV-135-WKW, 2009 WL 1515912, at *8
(M.D. Ala. June 1, 2009) (Watkins, J.) (in entering a default
judgment, “[t]he court's core duty is ‘to
assure [itself] that there is a legitimate basis for any
damage award it enters'”) (quoting
Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Philpot, 317 F.3d 1264, 1266
(11th Cir. 2003)).
the well-pled allegations of the complaint and attached
documents adequately establish the basis for a default
judgment. The complaint states that Reeves, then an employee
of UBS, obtained four loans from UBS totaling $ 960, 279.00,
and executed a promissory note and agreement for each loan.
He resigned in April 2015, making the four promissory notes
immediately due under their terms. At that time, the
outstanding principal balance due UBS was $ 346, 370.27, and
UBS and Reeves entered a confidential agreement and general
release (referred to hereafter as “the
Agreement”) that established a three-year payment plan.
See Confidential Agreement and General Release (doc.
failed to make any payments under the payment plan. The
Agreement contains a provision that requires any claims under
it to be resolved by final and binding arbitration. In July
2016, UBS filed an arbitration proceeding against Reeves.
Reeves agreed to submit the matter to arbitration.
See Submission Agreement (doc. no. 1-2). On August
20, 2017, the arbitrator issued an award in favor of UBS and
against Reeves in the amount of $ 346, 370.27, which was
served on Reeves. Arbitration Award (doc. no. 1-4).
seeks entry of a judgment in the amount of $ 346, 370.27
against Reeves. UBS filed its petition pursuant to Section 9
of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 9, which
“If the parties in their agreement have agreed that a
judgment of the court shall be entered upon the award made
pursuant to the arbitration, and shall specify the court,
then at any time within one year after the award is made any
party to the arbitration may apply to the court so specified
for an order confirming the award, and thereupon the court
must grant such an order unless the award is vacated,
modified, or corrected.... If no court is specified in the
agreement of the parties, then such application may be made
to the United States court in and for the district within
which such award was made.”
U.S.C. § 9. The venue provisions are permissive,
“permitting such a motion either where the award was
made or in any district proper under the general venue
statute.” Cortez Byrd Chips, Inc. v. Bill
Harbert Const. Co., 529 U.S. 193, 195 (2000).
requirements for confirmation of the arbitration award have
been met here. The parties in their confidential agreement
“agreed that a judgment of the court shall be entered
upon the award made pursuant to the arbitration, ” 9
U.S.C. § 9: the Agreement states that “any
judgment or award issued by an arbitrator may be entered in
any court of competent jurisdiction.” Confidential
Agreement and General Release (doc. no. 1-1) at para. 26(e).
Venue is proper because Reeves resides in the Middle District
of Alabama. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1). Furthermore, UBS
timely filed the instant petition within one year of the
arbitrator's award. The arbitrator awarded UBS $ 346,
370.27 in damages against Reeves, see Arbitration
Award (doc. no. 1-4), and the court sees no reason to
question the validity of the award. Accordingly, UBS is
entitled to a default judgment for that amount.