United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER ON MOTION FOR DEFAULT AND MOTIONS FOR DEFAULT
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are Plaintiff Headhunter LLC's
(“Headhunter”) motion for default against
Defendant Poulline-Jaun Castillo and motions for default
judgment against Defendants Krystal Sawyer, Abram Zeliz, and
LeRoy Mechkstroth (collectively, “Defaulting
Defendants”). (Castillo Mot. (Dkt. # 66)); Sawyer Mot.
(Dkt. # 69); Zeliz Mot. (Dkt. # 71); Mechkstroth Mot. (Dkt. #
73).) The court has considered the motions, the relevant
portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully
advised,  the court denies the motion for entry of
default without prejudice and grants in part and denies in
part the motions for default judgment for the reasons set
brought this copyright infringement case on June 30, 2017.
(See Compl. (Dkt. # 1).) Headhunter originally
asserted copyright infringement claims against 19 Doe
defendants for unauthorized copying and distribution of
Headhunter's film, A Family Man, by using
“the BitTorrent file sharing
protocol.” (Id. ¶ 1; see also
Am. Compl. (Dkt. # 12) ¶ 5 (alleging that Headhunter
developed and produced A Family Man for theatrical
release in July 2017).) Headhunter initially identified the
defendants only by the IP address from which they shared the
film. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) After
Headhunter filed its initial complaint, the court granted
Headhunter leave to conduct limited discovery to identify the
defendants using their IP addresses. (7/10/17 Order (Dkt. #
8).) On August 31, 2017, Headhunter filed an amended
complaint identifying 15 defendants by name. (See
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 18-32.)
into consideration the unique identifier associated with a
particular digital copy of A Family Man and the
timeframe when the IP address associated with a named
defendant accessed that unique identifier, Headhunter alleges
that the defendants were part of a “swarm” of
users that reproduced, distributed, and/or displayed the
copyrighted work. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 12, 18-19,
25, 32-35.) Headhunter also explains the forensic methods by
which it identified Defendants' infringing activity.
(Id. ¶¶ 36-38.)
Castillo, who appears pro se, responded to
Headhunter's complaint by filing a motion to dismiss (MTD
(Dkt. # 36)), which the court denied (1/9/18 Order (Dkt. #
61)). Ms. Castillo has not subsequently answered
Headhunter's amended complaint. (See Dkt.) On
March 6, 2018, Headhunter gave Ms. Castillo written notice of
its intention to move for default. (Lowe Decl. (Dkt. # 67)
¶ 2, Ex. A.)
Defendants did not respond to Headhunter's complaint.
(See Dkt.) The court therefore entered default
against Defaulting Defendants. (11/9/17 Order (Dkt. # 51).)
moves for entry of default against Ms. Castillo and for
default judgment against Ms. Sawyer, Mr. Zeliz, and Mr.
Mechkstroth. (See Castillo Mot.; Sawyer Mot.; Zeliz
Mot.; Mechkstroth Mot.) The court now addresses those
Motion for Entry of Default
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), “[w]hen
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 default.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
55(a). Filing a motion to dismiss constitutes defending
an action within the meaning of Rule 55(a). Fid.
Mortg. Corp. v. Seattle Times Co., 213 F.R.D. 573, 574
(W.D. Wash. 2003). And, even where a defendant's
responsive pleading is untimely after the court denies the
motion to dismiss, courts have denied entry of default
because the defendant intends to defend the suit. See,
e.g., Dow v. Jones, 232 F.Supp.2d 491, 494-95
(D. Md. 2002).
Civil Rule 55(a) further requires that “in the case of
a defaulting party who has entered an appearance, the moving
party must give the defaulting party written notice of the
requesting party's intention to move for the entry of
default at least fourteen days prior to filing its
motion.” Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 55(a).
Entry of Default Against Ms. Castillo
moves for entry of default against Ms. Castillo.
(See Castillo Mot.) But by moving to dismiss, Ms.
Castillo demonstrated her intent to defend against the suit.
(See MTD); Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Thus, particularly in
light of Ms. Castillo's pro se status, the court
denies entry of default. See United States v.
Edwards, No. 2:10-cv-098-EJL-CWL, 2011 WL 2441682, at *3
(D. Idaho June 14, 2011); cf. New Milani Grp., Inc. v.
Aslani, No. CV 17-02791 SJO (PJWx), 2017 WL 8220225, at
*2 (C.D. Cal. June 9, 2017) (stating that the court would set
aside the entry of default because “in light of [the
d]efendant's pro se status, there is no
indication that [the d]efendant's failure to timely
respond to the [c]omplaint was deliberate, willful, or made
in bad faith”). However, in the interest of ensuring an
expeditious resolution of the case, the court directs Ms.
Castillo to file an answer to Headhunter's amended
complaint within 21 days of the date of this order. If she
does not do so, Headhunter may renew its motion for entry of
Motions for Default Judgment