United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KEITH WATKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance
Company's motion for default judgment (Doc. # 12) against
Defendant Natasha Adams. The motion for default judgment will
be granted and Adams will be ordered to pay $115, 400.00 to
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has diversity subject-matter jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C § 1332(a). The amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000, and the parties are citizens of different states. (Doc.
# 1, at 1.) The parties do not dispute personal jurisdiction
STANDARD OF REVIEW
prevail on its motion for default judgment, Berkshire must
show that it has a claim upon which relief can be granted.
“[A] default judgment cannot stand on a complaint that
fails to state a claim.” Chudasama v. Mazda Motor
Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1370 n.41 (11th Cir. 1997). The
court must ensure “that the well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint, which are taken as true due to the default,
actually state a substantive cause of action and that there
is a substantive, sufficient basis in the pleadings for the
particular relief sought.” Tyco Fire & Sec.,
LLC v. Alcocer, 218 Fed.Appx. 860, 863 (11th Cir. 2007)
(per curiam). Thus, Berkshire must plead “factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
court cannot award money damages “without a hearing
unless the amount claimed is a liquidated sum or one capable
of mathematical calculation.” Adolph Coors Co. v.
Movement Against Racism & the Klan, 777 F.2d 1538,
1543 (11th Cir. 1985) (quoting United Artists Corp. v.
Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979) (per
curiam)). It may award damages “only if the record
adequately reflects the basis for [the] award.”
Id. at 1544.
lawsuit stems from a previous case in the Eastern District of
Louisiana, Mendoza v. Hicks, No. 15-cv-1455, 2016 WL
815505 (E.D. La. Mar. 2, 2016). In that case, Adams was sued
for a car accident involving a tractor-trailer. Adams had a
business relationship with the tractor's driver. Adams
also had an insurance policy from Berkshire. But Adams did
not own the tractor involved in the crash. Nor did Berkshire
insure that tractor. Still, Berkshire paid $100, 000 on
Adams's behalf to settle the case, reserving the right to
seek reimbursement from Adams under her policy's MCS-90
endorsement. (Doc. # 1, at 6-7; Doc. # 12-1, at 16.)
later sent Adams letters on September 7, 2016, and October
10, 2016, demanding reimbursement for the settlement payment.
(Doc. # 12-6, at 2-3.) Adams has not reimbursed Berkshire.
(Doc. # 1, at 7.) As a result, Berkshire filed this lawsuit
against Adams. It seeks $115, 400 for the settlement,
interest, and court fees. Adams was personally served on
March 3, 2019. (Doc. # 9.) Her answer was due on March 25,
2019, but she has yet to respond. Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55, the Clerk of the Court entered default on April
18, 2019. (Doc. # 11.)
insurance policy Berkshire issued Adams had an MCS-90
endorsement. Under that endorsement, Adams “agree[d] to
reimburse [Berkshire] for any payment that [Berkshire] would
not have been obligated to make under the provisions of the
policy except for the agreement contained in this
endorsement.” (Doc. # 12-1, at 16.) That agreement
controls; a court “must enforce the insurance policy as
written if the terms are unambiguous.” Lambert v.
Coregis Ins. Co., 950 So.2d 1156, 1161 (Ala. 2006)
(quoting Safeway Ins. Co. of Ala. v. Herrera, 912
So.2d 1140, 1143 (Ala. 2005)). Without the MCS-90
endorsement, Berkshire would not have had to pay $100, 000 to
help settle the lawsuit against Adams. Thus, Adams must
reimburse Berkshire. See Harco Nat'l Ins. Co. v.
Bobac Trucking Inc., 107 F.3d 733, 737 (9th Cir. 1997)
(holding that an MCS-90 endorsement required the insured to
reimburse the insurer for a legal settlement) (applying
prays for $115, 400 in damages. The court will award that
amount. The MCS-90 endorsement requires Adams to pay
Berkshire $100, 000. Berkshire is also entitled to $15, 000
of prejudgment interest based on the statutory six-percent
annual rate. Ala. Code §§ 8-8-1, 8-8-8; see
Ballard v. Lee A. McWilliams Constr., Inc., 258 So.3d
336, 338 (Ala. Civ. App. 2018); Hughes v. Hughes,
401 So.2d 73, 76 (Ala. Civ. App. 1981). And Berkshire may
recover its $400 filing fee. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). An
evidentiary hearing on damages is not required since the
record adequately reflects the basis for this award.
Adolph Coors Co., 777 F.2d at 1543- 44; see
SunSouth Capital, Inc. v. Harding Enters., LLC, No.
15-cv-823, 2017 WL 4563867, at *2 (M.D. Ala. Oct. 12, 2017).