United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TRUSTEES OF THE UFCW LOCAL 15 HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND SAID FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
AVON FOOD, INC., Defendant.
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
suit arises from Avon Food, Inc.'s
(“Defendant”) alleged failure to remit
contributions under a Collective Bargaining Agreement
(“CBA”) between Defendant and UFCW Local 152
(“Plaintiff”). Plaintiff brings this suit against
Defendant to reduce to judgment the alleged delinquent
contributions. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's
motion for entry of default judgment against Defendant (Doc.
No. 7). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's
motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
avers that Defendant has failed to remit contributions under
a CBA between the parties. (Pl. Aff. at 2). Plaintiff brought
this suit against Defendant on March 31, 2017. (Compl.).
Defendant was served on April 9, 2017. (Pl. Aff. at 2). The
Clerk entered a default against Defendant for failure to
plead or otherwise defend this action on May 16, 2017.
Plaintiff moved for default judgment on June 22, 2017. (Doc.
No. 5). Defendant sent this Court a letter dated July 15,
2017 requesting its release from litigation, but has
otherwise not made an appearance or responded to the instant
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) allows the Court, upon
plaintiff's motion, to enter default judgment against a
defendant that has failed to plead or otherwise defend a
claim for affirmative relief. The Court should accept as true
all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint by
virtue of the defendant's default except for those
allegations pertaining to damages. Chanel, Inc. v.
Gordashevsky, 448 F.Supp.2d 532, 536 (D.N.J. 2008)
(citing Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142,
1149 (3d Cir. 1990)). The Court also does not adopt
Plaintiff's legal conclusions because whether
the facts set forth an actionable claim is for the Court to
decide. Doe v. Simone, No. 12-5825, 2013 WL 3772532,
at *2 (D.N.J. July 17, 2013).
the decision to enter default judgment is left principally to
the discretion of the district court, there is a
well-established preference in the Third Circuit that cases
be decided on the merits rather than by default judgment
whenever practicable. Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d
1178, 1180-81 (3d Cir. 1984). Consequently, the Court must
address a number of issues before deciding whether a default
judgment is warranted in the instant case. If the Court finds
default judgment to be appropriate, the next step is for the
Court to determine a proper award of damages.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Appropriateness of Default Judgment
The Court's Jurisdiction
the Court must determine whether it has both subject-matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's cause of action and
personal jurisdiction over Defendant. See U.S. Life Ins.
Co. in N.Y.C. v. Romash, No. 09-3510, 2010 WL2400163, at
*1 (D.N.J. June 9, 2010).
case, this Court's jurisdiction was invoked pursuant to
Section 502(e)(1) and (f) and 515 of the Employment
Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29
U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1) and (f), § 1145, and § 301
of the Labor Management Relation Act (“LMRA”), 29
U.S.C. § 185, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This Court thus
has subject-matter jurisdiction over the instant action-
there is federal question jurisdiction.
also determine whether there is personal jurisdiction over
Defendant. The alleged breach took place in New Jersey and
Defendant maintained and continues to maintain a principal
place of business in New Jersey. This Court has personal
jurisdiction over the Defendant in the form of general
jurisdiction because Defendant has “continuous and
substantial” contacts with the forum state. See
Provident Nat'l Bank v. Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n 819 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987) (citations