United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
Stanley A. Bastian United States District Judge.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment, ECF
No. 6. Plaintiff is represented by Ryan McBride. Defendant
has not appeared. The motion was decided without oral
argument. In her Motion, Plaintiff requests that the Court
enter default judgment in her favor and award damages and
attorney's fees pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (FDCPA). See ECF No. 8. Having
considered the motion an d relevant caselaw, the Court
grants Plaintiff's Motion for Default
and Procedural Background
alleges that Defendant violated the FDCPA by making material
misrepresentations to Plaintiff in connection with the
collection of an alleged debt. ECF No. 1 at 2. On March 7,
2019, Plain tiff received a call from Lacy St evens,
Defendant's representative, attempting to collect on a
debt of Plaintiff that had been transferred to Defendant.
Id. at 4. In this call, Ms. Stevens told Plaintiff
that Defendant intended on serving Plaintiff at her place of
employment and that Plaintiff should have a manager present
to accept the documents. Id. On March 8, Ms. Stevens
left a voicemail for Plaintiff indicating Ms. Stevens was in
Plaintiff's “jurisdiction” and that she
intended to deliver the “legal documents” at
Plaintiff's place of employment that day. Id.
Ms. Stevens also indicated that she would attempt to contact
Plaintiff's manager so that they should be made available
at the time of service. Id. Ms. Stevens also told
Plaintiff in the voicemail that she would need a valid form
of identification, provided Plaintiff with a case number, and
told Plaintiff this was her final notification. Id.
at 5. Ms. Stevens never showed up at Plaintiff's
workplace, nor has Plaintiff been served with a lawsuit by
Ms. Stevens or any other representative of Defendant.
believes that there is no active court case against her
involving Defendant, that Ms. Stevens was not in her
“jurisdiction” on March 7 and 8, that the
“legal documents” referred to in the phone calls
are nonexistent, and that Ms. Stevens never intended on
serving Plaintiff with legal documents. Id.
Plaintiff therefore alleges a myriad of violations under 15
U.S.C. §§ 1692d, 1692e, and 1692f related to these
phone calls from Ms. Stevens.
filed her complaint on April 3, 2019. On April 12, 2019,
Defendant was properly served a copy of the summons and
complaint. ECF No. 6, Ex. A. Plaintiff's counsel mailed a
letter to Defendant requesting that Defendant file a
response. ECF No. 6, Ex. B. In response, Defendant's
representative indicated that he was aware of the lawsuit.
ECF No. 6, Ex. C. However, Defendant never filed an answer
and Plaintiff's Motion for Default was granted by the
Clerk of Court on July 29, 2019. Plaintiff seeks the
statutory maximum award of $1, 000 in addition to
attorney's fees and costs.
for entry of default judgment are governed by Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 55(b). If the plaintiff is seeking damages in
a “sum certain, ” then the Clerk may enter
default judgment; otherwise, if there is any doubt as to the
sum of damages due the plaintiff, the court must enter
default judgment. Franchise Holding, LLC v. Huntington
Rests. Grp., Inc., 375 F.3d 922, 929 (9th Cir.
2004). The entry of default judgment under Rule 55(b) is
“an extreme measure.” Cmty. Dental Servs. v.
Tani, 282 F.3d 1164, 1170 (9t h Cir. 2002). “As a
general rule, default judgements are disfavored; cases should
be decided upon their merits whenever reasonably
possible.” Westchester Fire Ins. Co. v.
Mendez, 585 F.3d 1183, 1189 (9th Cir. 2009). In
determining whether t o enter default judgment, a court
should consider the following factors: “(1) the
possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff; (2) the merits of
the plaintiff's substantive claims; (3) the sufficiency
of the complaint; (4) the sum of money at stake in the
action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material
facts; (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect;
and (7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure favoring decision on the merits.”
Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir.
1986). All well pleaded allegations in a complaint are deemed
admitted on a motion for default judgment. In re
Visioneering Const., 661 F.2d 119, 124 (9th Cir. 1981).
also requests attorney's fees and costs in her motion for
default judgment. The FDCPA provides that a prevailing party
be awarded attorney's fees and costs. 15 U.S.C. §
1692k(a)(3). The Supreme Court has defined a prevailing party
as a party in whose favor a judgment is rendered.
Buckhannon Bd. and Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Dept.
of Health and Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 603 (2001).
Thus, if t he Court grants Plaintiff's motion for default
judgment, then she is a prevailing party and is entitled to
costs an d fees under § 1692k(a)(3). See Evon v. Law
Offices of Sidney Mickell, 688 F.3d 1015, 1032 (9t h
Cir. 2012) (noting that awards of attorney's fees and
costs to the prevailing party are mandatory under the FDCPA).
Ninth Circuit, attorney's fees under the FDCPA are
calculated using the lodestar method. Id. at 1033.
The lodestar method calculates fee by multiplying the hours
reasonable expended by an allowed hourly rate. The burden is
on the applicant to prove that the fee request is reasonable.
Morales v. City of San Rafael, 96 F.3d 359, 363 (9th
Cir. 1996). After computing the lodestar, the district court
must consider twelve factors in determining whether the
amount requested is reasonable. These factors include:
(1) the time and labor required;
(2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
(3) the skill requisite to perform the legal service
(4) the preclusion of other employment due to acceptance of