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United States of America v. Robert A. Steinkamp

November 28, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT A. STEINKAMP, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On January 21, 2012, Plaintiff United States of America ("Plaintiff") commenced this action alleging that Defendant defaulted on a promissory note. See Dkt. No. 1. On March 1, 2012, Plaintiff moved for an entry of default, which was entered by the Clerk of the Court on March 5, 2012. See Dkt. Nos. 4, 5.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for entry of a default judgment against

Defendant pursuant to Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Dkt. Nos. 6, 7.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

"Generally, 'Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 provides a two-step process that the Court must follow before it may enter a default judgment against a defendant.'" United States v. Simmons, No. 5:10-CV-1272, 2008 WL 685498, *2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2012) (quoting Robertson v. Doe, No. 05-CV-7046, 2008 WL 2519894, *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008)). "'First, under Rule 55(a), when a party fails to "plead or otherwise defend . . . the clerk must enter the party's default.""' Id. (quotation omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). "'Second, pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2), the party seeking default is required to present its application for entry of judgment to the court."' Id. (quotation omitted). "'Notice of the application must be sent to the defaulting party so that it has an opportunity to show cause why the court should not enter a default judgment."' Id. (quotation omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2).

"When a default is entered, the defendant is deemed to have admitted all of the well-plead factual allegations in the complaint pertaining to liability." Bravado Int'l Grp. Merchandising Servs., Inc. v. Ninna, Inc., 655 F. Supp. 2d 177, 188 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (citing Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. E.L.U.L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992))."While a default judgment constitutes an admission of liability, the quantum of damages remains to be established by proof unless the amount is liquidated or susceptible of mathematical computation."Flaks v. Koegel, 504 F.2d 702, 707 (2d Cir. 1974) (citations omitted); see also Bravado Int'l, 655 F. Supp. 2d at 189 (citation omitted). "[E]ven upon default, a court may not rubber-stamp the non-defaulting party's damages calculation, but rather must ensure that there is a basis for the damages that are sought." Robertson v. Doe, No. 05-CV-7046, 2008 WL 2519894, *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008). "The burden on is on the plaintiff to establish its entitlement to recovery." Bravado Int'l, 655 F. Supp. 2d at 189 (citation omitted). "While 'the court must ensure that there is a basis for the damages specified in a default judgment, it may, but need not, make the determination through a hearing."' Id. at 190 (quotation omitted).

B. Application

In the present matter, Plaintiff has established through its complaint and attached exhibit that it is entitled to judgment in its favor. The complaint and summons were properly served on February 2, 2012. See Dkt. No. 3. Return of service was filed on February 13, 2012. See id. Moreover, Plaintiff has complied with the requirements set forth in Local Rule 55.2(b) to the extent required for the Court to grant Plaintiff's motion as to liability.*fn1 As such, Defendant has defaulted within the meaning of Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the following factual allegations are deemed true for purposes of establishing liability. See United States v. Beam, No. 6:12-CV-0087, 2012 WL 1802316, *2 (N.D.N.Y. May 17, 2012) (holding that by failing to answer the plaintiff's complaint or respond to this motion, the defendant "has effectively conceded" that he is subject to the terms of the promissory note, and is liable for the money owed).

On or about October 4, 1995, Defendant executed a promissory note to secure a loan of $5,488.00 from the United States Department of Education. See Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2. The loan was disbursed for $3,500.00 and $1,988.00 on October 19, 1995 and January 24, 1996, at a variable rate of interest to be established annually. See id. Plaintiff demanded payment according to the terms of the note, and Defendant defaulted on August 30, 1997. See id.

Plaintiff has credited a total of $8,040.43 in payments from all sources, including Treasury Department offsets, to the balance. See id. After application of these payments, Defendant now ...


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