United States District Court, D. New Jersey
McNulty United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on the unopposed motion of the
plaintiff, Travelodge Hotels, Inc. ("Travelodge")
for a default judgment against the defendants, Surajhira, LLC
("Surajhira"), and Darshil Patel
("Patel"), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). (DE
8) This action arises from an alleged breach of a Franchise
Agreement between Travelodge and Surajhira to operate a
Travelodge facility, and a Guaranty Agreement between
Travelodge and Patel. For the reasons set forth below, I will
enter a default judgment in the amount requested.
STANDARD FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT
entry of a default judgment is left primarily to the
discretion of the district court" Hritz v. Woma Corp.,
732 F.2d 1178, 1180 (3d Cir. 1984) (citing Tozer v.
Charles A. Krause Milling Co., 189 F.2d 242, 244 (3d
Cir. 1951)). Because the entry of a default judgment prevents
the resolution of claims on the merits, "this court does
not favor entry of defaults and default judgments."
United States v. $55, 518.05 in U.S. Currency, 728
F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir. 1984). Thus, before entering default
judgment, the Court must determine whether the
"unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause of
action" so that default judgment would be permissible.
DirecTV, Inc. v. Asher, 03-cv-1969, 2006 WL 680533,
at *1 (D.N.J. Mar. 14, 2006) (citing Wright, Miller, Kane,
10A Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 3d §2688, at
are deemed to have admitted the factual allegations of the
Complaint by virtue of their default, except those factual
allegations related to the amount of damages." Doe
v. Simone, CIV.A. 12-5825, 2013 WL 3772532, at *2
(D.N.J. July 17, 2013). While "courts must accept the
plaintiffs well-pleaded factual allegations as true,"
they "need not accept the plaintiffs factual allegations
regarding damages as true." Id. (citing
Chanel, Inc. v. Gordashevsky, 558 F.Supp.2d 532, 536
(D.N.J. 2008)). Moreover, if a court finds evidentiary
support to be lacking, it may order or permit a plaintiff
seeking default judgment to provide additional evidence in
support of the allegations. Doe, 2013 WL 3772532, at *2.
a court may enter default judgment against a defendant, the
plaintiff must have properly served the summons and
complaint, and the defendant must have failed to file an
answer or otherwise respond to the complaint within the time
provided by the Federal Rules, which is twenty-one days.
See Gold Kist, Inc. v. Laurinburg Oil Co., Inc., 756
F.2d 14, 18-19 (3d Cir. 1985); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(a).
the prerequisites have been satisfied, a court must evaluate
the following three factors: "(1) whether the party
subject to default has a meritorious defense, (2) the
prejudice suffered by the party seeking default, and (3) the
culpability of the party subject to default." Doug
Brady, Inc. v. N.J. Bldg. Laborers Statewide Funds, 250
F.R.D. 171, 177 (D.N.J. 2008) (citing Emcasco Ins. Co. v.
Sambrick, 834 F.2d 71, 74 (3d Cir. 1987)).
Adequate Service & Defendants' Failure to Respond The
prerequisites for default judgment have been met.
and Patel were properly served. (DE 5, 6) Surajhira was
served on July 2, 2018, by in-person delivery to its
registered agent. Patel was served on July 9, 2018, at an
address in Hardeeville, SC, by personal delivery to Parvin
Patel, who agreed to accept service on his behalf.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e), 4(h)(1); N.J. Ct. R.
4:4-4(a). See also Affidavit of Brian P.
Couch, Esq. (DE 8-1).
failed to file an answer or otherwise respond to the
Complaint within twenty-one days pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
clerk entered defaults on October 11, 2018 (clerk's entry
following DE 7). Travelodge served a copy of the default on
the defendants by mail. (DE 8-1 at 5)
I am satisfied that the prerequisites to filing a default
judgment are met. See Gold Kist, Inc., 756 F.2d at