United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM H. WALLS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter arises out of an alleged trademark infringement by
Defendants, a New Jersey Limited Liability Corporation
("PAC") and one of its principals, Mr. Sam Yang
("Yang"). Cmpl. (ECF No. 1) ¶¶ 1;5-15.
Plaintiff Panda Restaurant Group ("Panda") brought
suit in this Court on November 16, 2017. Id. Nearly
a year later, Defendants have failed to make an appearance in
this action. See ECF No. 9-4 at Ex. K. On January 3,
2018, the Clerk of the Court entered default against
Defendants for failure to plead or otherwise defend this
action. Plaintiff now moves for default judgment against
Defendants. ECF No. 9. Decided without oral argument pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78, Plaintiffs motion is granted.
the entry of default prevents a plaintiffs claims from being
decided on the merits, "this court does not favor entry
of defaults or default judgments." United States v.
$55, 518.05 in U.S. Currency, 728 F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir.
1984). The Third Circuit has clarified that, while "the
entry of a default judgment is left primarily to the
discretion of the district court," this "discretion
is not without limits," and cases should be
"disposed of on the merits whenever practicable."
Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178, 1181 (3d Cir.
1984) (citations omitted); see also $55, 518.05 in U.S.
Currency, 728 F.2d at 194-95.
granting a default judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55, the Court
must determine (1) whether there is sufficient proof of
service, Gold Kist, Inc. v. Laurinburg Oil Co.,
Inc., 756 F.2d 14, 19 (3d Cir. 1985); (2) whether a
sufficient cause of action was stated, DIRECTV v.
DeCroce, 332 F.Supp.2d 715 (D.N.J. 2004),
rev'don other grounds, 431 F.3d 162 (3d Cir.
2005).; and (3) whether the factors described in
Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir.
2000) are met. As set forth in Chamberlain, courts
in the Third Circuit consider (1) whether there is 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. 210
F.3d at 164. A court must treat "the factual allegations
in a complaint, other than those as to damages ... as
conceded by the defendant." DIRECTV, Inc. v.
Pepe, 431 F.3d 162, 165 (3d Cir. 2005).
judgment is inappropriate, even where defendants have failed
to appear, unless the plaintiff has provided well-pleaded
facts sufficient to establish a claim. DeCroce, 332
F.Supp.2d at 715. Because a defaulting party does not admit
conclusions of law, a court must make an independent inquiry
into "whether the unchallenged facts constitute a
legitimate cause of action." Id. (denying
default judgment for failure to state a claim) (quoting
Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, 10A
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2688, at 63 (3d ed.
Court has original jurisdiction over Plaintiffs claims
arising under federal law pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
and supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law
claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Proof of Service
is sufficient proof of service. See ECF No. 9-4 at
Exs. H-J. Plaintiff has even demonstrated a good faith effort
to contact Defendants after it was statutorily required to do
so in order to move the litigation along. Id. at Ex.
Sufficient Cause of Action
sufficient cause of action has been stated. Plaintiff Panda
is a well-known restaurant chain that specializes in Asian
cuisine. See Del Pizzo Declaration ¶ 5; Cherng
Aff. ¶ 2. Panda has a distinctive logo/brand about which
it owns numerous federal trademarks and registrations.
See Mot. Br. (ECF 9-1) at 4-5. Defendants allegedly
violated those trademarks by operating restaurants that used
both the Panda name and Panda's exact logo. Cmplt.
¶¶ 6; 16-22. Panda adequately alleges violations of
The Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125, N.J.S.A. §
56:4-1, and common law unfair competition based on
Defendants' conduct. Cmplt. ¶¶ 23-66.