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R&R Partners, Inc. v. Humble TV, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 1, 2019

R&R PARTNERS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
HUMBLE TV, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (ECF No. 9) and motion for attorney fees and costs (ECF No. 10). To date, Defendant has not responded. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants both motions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff entered into a Production Agreement with Defendant whereby Defendant agreed to produce video content for Plaintiff. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) Defendant was responsible for paying all talent (as a pass-through expense) with the payments it received from Plaintiff. (Id.) When Defendant completed its work, Plaintiff made all payments to Defendant. (Id. at 2-3.) But several individuals (“Talent”) contacted Plaintiff and indicated that Defendant failed to pay them for their services on the project. (Id.) Plaintiff directly paid Talent a total of $171, 500.00 to ensure that it has the rights to publish and broadcast the finished video product. (Id. at 3; ECF No. 9-1 at ¶ 11.) Plaintiff demanded that Defendant reimburse Plaintiff the $171, 500.00, but Defendant refused. (ECF No. 1 at 3; ECF No. 9-1 at ¶ 11.)

         On January 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed its Complaint against Defendant for (1) breach of contract, (2) contractual and tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) conversion, and (4) unjust enrichment. (ECF No. 1.) On January 17, 2019, Plaintiff served the Summons on Defendant (ECF No. 2), but Defendant never responded. Plaintiff filed an Application for Entry of Default. (ECF Nos. 6 and 7), and the Clerk entered default against Defendant. (ECF No. 8.)

         On April 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment requesting $171, 500. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff's motion acknowledges that it pled all four of its claims in the alternative for the same damages, and therefore focused on its breach-of-contract claim for purposes of the motion. (Id. at 5.) Moreover, Plaintiff filed a separate motion for attorney's fees and costs pursuant to the terms of the Production Agreement in the amount of $20, 251.00. (ECF No. 10 at 2-3; ECF No. 1-1, ¶ 16(a) (Production Agreement).)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Obtaining a default judgment is a two-step process governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 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). Second, after the clerk enters default, a party must seek entry of default judgment under Rule 55(b).

         Although entry of default by the clerk is a prerequisite to an entry of default judgment, “a plaintiff who obtains an entry of default is not entitled to default judgment as a matter of right.” Warner Bros. Entm't Inc. v. Caridi, 346 F.Supp.2d 1068, 1071 (C.D. Cal. 2004) (citation omitted). Instead, whether a court will grant a default judgment is in the court's discretion. Id.

         The Ninth Circuit has identified the following factors as relevant to the exercise of the court's discretion in determining whether to grant default judgment: (1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff; (2) the merits of the plaintiff's substantive claims; (3) the sufficiency of the complaint; (4) the sum of money at stake in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts; (6) whether the default was due to the excusable neglect; and (7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits. Eitel, 782 F.2d at 1471-72.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Procedural Requirements

         Plaintiff has satisfied the procedural requirements for default judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). First, the Clerk properly entered a default against Defendant pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). (ECF No. 8.) Second, insofar as Defendant has not answered or otherwise responded to the Complaint, the notice requirement of Rule 55(b)(2) is not implicated. Thus, there is no procedural impediment to entering a default judgment.

         B. E ...


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