United States District Court, D. Nevada
an interpleader action involving two life insurance contracts
and two competing claimants. Presently before the court is
interpleader defendant Thumper Bloomquist's
(“Bloomquist”) motion for default judgment. (ECF
No. 24). Interpleader defendant Mark Brown has not filed a
response, and the time for doing so has passed.
before the court is interpleader plaintiff Thrivent Financial
for Lutherans' motion for discharge from liability. (ECF
No. 31). No party has filed a response, and the time for
doing so has since passed.
instant case arises out of a dispute over life insurance
benefits. Plaintiff is a not-for-profit financial services
organization that issued two life insurance contracts to
decedent Patricia Bloomquist (“decedent”). (ECF
No. 1). At the time of the contracts' issuance (1985 and
1989), decedent was married to defendant Bloomquist, who was
named as the primary beneficiary on both contracts.
Id. On March 26, 2014, defendant Bloomquist and
decedent divorced in California. Id. The divorce
decree does not mention the life insurance contracts.
Brown is the executor of decedent's will. Id.
This lawsuit arose because defendant Brown contested
plaintiff's payments to Bloomquist. Id.
2, 2017, plaintiff filed its complaint for interpleader
against Bloomquist and Brown pursuant to the Federal
Interpleader Act. Id. Plaintiff seeks a judicial
declaration of entitlement to the life insurance contract
benefits and a discharge from liability. (ECF No. 31).
defendant Brown has failed to appear in this action,
plaintiff filed a motion for clerk's entry of default,
(ECF No. 19), which the clerk granted, (ECF No. 20).
Thereafter, defendant Bloomquist filed a motion for default
judgment. (ECF No. 24). Despite being properly served in this
action,  defendant Brown has failed to appear.
Through his counsel, defendant Brown informed plaintiff's
counsel that he does not intend to appear in these
proceedings. (ECF No. 16).
April 18, 2018, Magistrate Judge Koppe ordered plaintiff to
deposit the proceeds from the subject life insurance policies
with the court. (ECF No. 29); see also (ECF No. 27).
On April 19, 2018, plaintiff deposited said funds (including
accrued interest). (ECF No. 30).
a default judgment is a two-step process. Eitel v.
McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471 (9th Cir. 1986). First,
“[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative
relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and
that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk
must enter the party's default.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(a). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) provides that
“a court may enter a default judgment after the party
seeking default applies to the clerk of the court as required
by subsection (a) of this rule.”
choice whether to enter a default judgment lies within the
discretion of the court. Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.3d
1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). In the determination of whether
to grant a default judgment, the court should consider the
seven factors set forth in Eitel: (1) the
possibility of prejudice to plaintiff if default judgment is
not entered; (2) the merits of the claims; (3) the
sufficiency of the complaint; (4) the amount of money at
stake; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material
facts; (6) whether default was due to excusable neglect; and
(7) the policy favoring a decision on the merits. 782 F.2d at
1471-72. In applying the Eitel factors, “the
factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating
to the amount of damages, will be taken as true.”
Geddes v. United Fin. Grp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th
Cir. 1977); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d).
Discharge from liability
U.S.C. § 2361 provides that in “any civil action
of interpleader” a district court may discharge the
plaintiff in interpleader from further liability, enjoin the
parties from instituting further actions related to the
stake, and make all other appropriate orders. Accordingly, a
stakeholder that “[deposits] the death benefit and past
interest with the court, thereby discharging its obligations
under the policy” should be ...