United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFAULT JUDGMENT
S. Lasnik United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs'
“Motion for Entry of Default Judgment.” Dkt. #
105. Having reviewed the motion and the supporting materials,
the Court finds as follows.
default entered in the above-captioned matter has established
the well-pleaded allegations of the amended complaint
pertaining to liability. Dkt. # 84. Defendants' default
cannot be attributed to excusable neglect, as they were
properly served with the amended complaint in October 2016,
Dkt. ## 78, 79, 80, and defendant Seok Bae “Mike”
Seo appeared for two separate depositions in this case, in
July 2016 and November 2016, Dkt. # 90-2 at 40-50. In this
second deposition, Mr. Seo acknowledged that he and his wife,
defendant Lee Ok Mi, were both aware of the lawsuit against
them. Dkt. # 90-2 at 48. Though a large sum of money is at
stake in this action - plaintiffs have provided documentation
supporting over $1 million in damages resulting from
fraudulent claims submitted by the sham law firm, defendant
Lighthouse Law, P.S., Inc., see Dkt. # 107-1 -
defendants were on notice from October 2016 that they might
be held jointly and severally liable for damages of at least
$600, 000, the amount stated in the amended complaint. Dkt. #
52 at 26, 27. Despite the strong policy favoring decisions on
the merits, it appears in this case that defendants Seo, Mi,
and their company, defendant Hanna & Dooree (H&D)
Corporation, simply chose not to appear to defend against
this suit. Default judgment in favor of plaintiffs and
against defendant is therefore appropriate. See Eitel v.
McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986).
have not, however, shown that the full damages amount of
$600, 000 should be awarded against these defendants. Though
defendant Seo admitted to participating in the trafficking of
insurance claims through the sham law firm, defendant
Lighthouse Law, P.S., Inc., see Dkt. # 90-2 at 48,
plaintiffs have not shown that all of the fraudulent
claims underlying their losses are attributable to the
“capping” work of defendant Seo: indeed,
plaintiffs have alleged that Lighthouse compensated a number
of different “cappers” for referring clients to
the law firm. Dkt. # 52, ¶¶ 53-57; see
also Dkt. # 90-3 at 26. Plaintiffs have alleged that
defendants Seo, Mi, and H&D Corporation received
approximately $91, 712.57 in compensation for defendant
Seo's work referring clients to Lighthouse Law. Dkt. #
52, ¶¶ 39(b), 40(b), 63. Accordingly, the Court
concludes that a damages award of $91, 712.57 is appropriate.
Because treble damage awards under RCW 19.86.090 are capped
at $25, 000, the Court declines to award treble damages.
plaintiffs have not shown that these defendants should bear
the full cost of plaintiffs' attorney's fees, costs,
and expert expenses ($319, 975 in fees; $4, 081.94 in costs;
$27, 447.30 in expert expenses): these defendants were first
named as defendants on August 17, 2016; they were served on
October 19, 2016; and default was entered against them on
November 14, 2016. Before, during, and after this time
period, other defendants were actively litigating this case,
and the vast majority of plaintiffs' fees, costs, and
expenses were incurred in the course of that litigation.
Accordingly, based on a review of plaintiffs'
counsel's billing statements and the rest of the docket
in this matter, the Court finds that an award of $19, 485 in
attorney's fees and costs is reasonable.
hereby ORDERED that default judgment is entered against Seok
Bae “Mike” Seo, Lee Ok Mi, and Hanna & Dooree
Corporation in the amount of $91, 712.57 in damages, plus
attorney's fees and costs of $19, 485, for a total amount
owing of $111, 197.57.
FURTHER ORDERED that this Judgment shall accrue interest on
the total unpaid balance at the rate of 0.12 percent (0.12%)
per annum from the date of entry hereof until fully
of the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs' motion for default
judgment (Dkt. # 105) is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court shall
enter judgment in favor of plaintiffs and against defendants
as described above.
 This sum represents attorney's
fees and costs incurred for tasks specifically related to
plaintiffs' claims against defendants Seo, Mi, and
H&D Corp. See Dkt. # 106-2 at 143 to Dkt. #
106-3 at 116. Fees and costs incurred following entry of
default against those defendants are not included, except for
those fees and costs incurred in preparing this motion for
default judgment. See Dkt. # 106-4 at 19-29.
 This percentage rate was specifically
set forth by plaintiffs in their proposed order. See
Dkt. # 105-1 at 2. No other post-judgment interest rate was