United States District Court, D. New Jersey
RENÉE MARIE BUMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Motion for
Default Judgment [Dkt. No. 6].
to the Affidavit of Service, “James Martinez, Director
of Operation” accepted service of the Summons and
Complaint in this action on behalf of Defendant Fidelis
Recovery Management, LLC, on December 26, 2016. [Dkt. No. 3]
January 10, 2017, Mr. Martinez, on behalf of Defendant
Fidelis, completed and signed an Answer to the Complaint
using a Court form entitled “Pro Se 3 (Rev. 12/16) The
Defendant's Answer to the Complaint, ” and sent it
via overnight delivery to the Clerk of Court for docketing.
[Dkt. No. 4]
January 18, 2017, the Clerk of Court issued the following
quality control docket notation: “Please be advised
that although an individual is entitled to proceed pro se, a
corporation must be represented by counsel.” Nothing on
the docket indicates whether Mr. Martinez received this
February 8, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Request for Default,
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), which was served upon
Defendant by Certified and First Class Mail. [Dkt. 5-1]
Clerk entered default on February 10, 2017.
filed the instant Motion for Default Judgment on March 28,
2017, which was also served on the Defendant by Certified and
First Class Mail.
date, no attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of
Defendant, nor has Mr. Martinez filed any other response to
the filings in this case other than his original Answer.
Clerk's Entry of Default will be set aside, and the
Motion for Default Judgment will be dismissed without
the Entry of Default appears to have been entered in error,
as an Answer was timely filed. While the Clerk entered a
quality control message indicating that a corporation must be
represented by its own attorney, the Answer was not stricken.
Nor did the quality control message explain the consequences
of failing to retain a lawyer to represent the Defendant
corporation. Thus, the Court holds that “good
cause” exists to set aside the default. Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(c); see generally, Farnese v. Bagnasco,
687 F.2d 761, 764 (3d Cir.
court has often emphasized that it does not favor defaults,
and that in a close case doubts should be resolved in favor
of setting aside the default and obtaining a decision on the
as to Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment, the moving
brief does not cite or apply the Third Circuit's
three-part test for default judgment found in Chamberlain
v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir.
2000)(“Three factors control whether a default judgment
should be granted: (1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default
is denied, (2) whether the defendant appears to have a
litigable defense, and (3) whether defendant's delay is
due to culpable conduct.”).
default judgment may not be entered until a valid default has
been entered by ...