United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge.
District Court has referred this matter to U.S. Magistrate
Judge J. Richard Creatura pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
636(b)(1)(A) and 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rules MJR 1, MJR 3,
and MJR 4. See Dkt. 11. The matter is before the
Court on plaintiff's motion for a default judgment
against defendant. Because plaintiff served defendant in
accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4, defendant
failed to timely appear in this action, the Clerk has entered
defendant's default, and plaintiff's motion is
otherwise appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
55(b)(1), the District Court should grant plaintiff's
motion for a default judgment.
filed its complaint for damages on May 14, 2019, alleging
breach of contract, negligence, and violation of 49 U.S.C.
§ 14706 against defendant, an interstate carrier, for
failure to adequately refrigerate plaintiff's cargo
during transport. Dkt. 1. Plaintiff timely effected service
of copies of the summons and complaint on defendant's
blanket company's agent on May 28, 2019. See
Dkt. 6, at 1.
defendant has failed to timely appear or take any action in
this matter. See Dkt. Plaintiff now requests a
default judgment against plaintiff for $48, 333.06, including
costs, attorney fees, and prejudgment interest. See
Dkt. 7-1, at 1. The Clerk has entered defendant's
default, so that the matter is ripe for decision.
See Dkt. 12. In addition, defendant has responded to
this Court's order to show cause by filing an itemization
of costs and attorney fees. See Dkts. 13, 15, 16.
requests a default judgment under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b)(1). See Dkt. 7, at 3. Rule 55(b)(1)
authorizes the Clerk of the Court to enter default judgment
“if the plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain or a
sum that can be made certain by computation[.]”
Judgment must be entered “on the plaintiff's
request, with an affidavit showing the amount due”
“for that amount and costs” if the defendant
“has been defaulted for not appearing” and is
“neither a minor nor an incompetent person.”
Ninth Circuit has stated that Rule 55(b)(1) applies where
there is “no doubt” remaining “as to the
amount to which [defendant's] default entitled
[plaintiff].” Franchise Holding II, LLC v.
Huntington Restaurants Grp., 375 F.3d 922, 929 (9th Cir.
2004). Moreover, an award of prejudgment interest is
discretionary but routinely recognized as an element of
complete compensation. See Osterneck v. Ernst &
Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 175 (1989). Prejudgment interest
is typically calculated according to the rate set forth in 28
U.S.C. § 1961 based on Federal Reserve-published
Treasury yields. See SEC v. Platforms Wireless Int'l
Corp., 617 F.3d 1072, 1099 (9th Cir. 2010).
plaintiff asserts that it is entitled $41, 302-the difference
between the cargo's commercial value at its destination
($73, 044) and its salvage value ($31, 742). Dkt. 7, at 2.
Plaintiff relies on the declaration of its accounting manager
(see Dkt. 9), who states that plaintiff paid the
cargo's commercial value to a consignee and also received
payment of the cargo's salvage value. See Dkt.
9, at 2.
also requests $5, 823.50 for attorneys' fees and $809.00
for costs (Dkt. 7-1, at 1) as substantiated by
plaintiff's attorney's declaration and based on the
parties' contract. See Dkt 1, at 12; Dkt. 8.
Plaintiff's attorney documents approximately 14 hours of
substantive work as support for the attorney's fees
request and the costs of filing the matter and service of
process as support for the costs request. See Dkt.
16, at 2-3. The undersigned finds these amounts to be
further requests appropriate prejudgment interest of 1.93%,
or $398.56. See Dkt. 7-1, at 1. Thus plaintiff has
properly requested a sum certain. Moreover, plaintiff served
defendant's authorized agent-“the registered agent
of [defendant's] blanket company, Transportation
Authority, LLC”-with a copy of the complaint and the
summons within 90 days of filing the complaint, in accordance
with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. See Dkt. 6;
Dkt. 8, at 1.
the undersigned recommends that the District Court grant
plaintiff's motion for a default judgment against
defendant in the amount of $ 48, 333.06.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), the
parties shall have fourteen (14) days from service of this
Report to file written objections. See also Fed. R.
Civ. P. 6. Failure to file objections will result in a waiver
of those objections for purposes of de novo review by the
district judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Accommodating the time limit imposed by Fed.R.Civ.P. ...