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The Soundkillers, LLC v. Young Money Entertainment, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 19, 2015

THE SOUNDKILLERS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
YOUNG MONEY ENTERTAINMENT, LLC and CASH MONEY RECORDS, INC., Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.

On October 2, 2014, plaintiff The Soundkillers, LLC ("The Soundkillers" or "plaintiff") initiated this diversity breach-of-contract action against defendants Young Money Entertainment, LLC ("Young Money") and Cash Money Records, Inc. ("Cash Money, " and collectively with Young Money, "defendants"). (ECF No. 1 ("Compl.").) The Complaint alleges that defendants owe plaintiff money for production services in connection with a musical recording. (See Compl. ¶¶ 1, 2.)

Plaintiff served the Summons and Complaint on Cash Money and Young Money on December 15, 2014 and December 22, 2014, respectively.[1] (ECF Nos. 11, 12.) To date, defendants have failed to answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint; they have not appeared or sought to defend themselves at any time during this litigation.[2]

Pursuant to Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court must follow a two-step process before entering a default judgment. First, under Rule 55(a), the clerk of court must determine that the party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to "plead or otherwise defend" itself, and then enter that party's default. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Second, under Rule 55(b)(2), the party seeking affirmative relief must apply to the court for a default judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2).

On January 13, 2015, plaintiff obtained certificates of default against defendants. (ECF Nos. 13, 14.) On January 15, 2015, plaintiff filed and served a motion for default judgment against defendants.[3] (ECF Nos. 15, 19, 20.) On January 21, 2015, the Court issued an order directing defendants to show cause why default judgment should not be entered against them and scheduled a hearing for February 18, 2015. (ECF No. 21.) Plaintiff served the Court's January 21, 2015 Order by mail on January 22, 2015. (ECF Nos. 22, 23.) Defendants failed to appear at the default judgment hearing, [4] and as aforementioned, have not otherwise sought to defend themselves at any point during this action.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby enters default judgment as against both defendants.

I. DISCUSSION

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00 and there is complete diversity of citizenship.

A. Liability

Before entering a default judgment, the Court must review the complaint to determine whether plaintiff has stated a valid claim for relief. See, e.g., City of New York v. Mickalis Pawn Shop, LLC, 645 F.3d 114, 137 (2d Cir. 2011); Young-Flynn v. Wright, No. 05 Civ. 1488, 2007 WL 241332, at *24 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 2007) ("A default judgment is inappropriate where a plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action against the allegedly defaulting defendant, regardless of whether the defendant filed a prompt response, or any response at all.").

For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the facts alleged in the Complaint support liability for breach of contract.[5]

To establish a claim for breach of contract under New York law, a plaintiff must allege "(1) the existence of an agreement, (2) adequate performance of the contract by the plaintiff, (3) breach of contract by the defendant, and (4) damages." Landmark Ventures, Inc. v. Wave Sys. Corp., 513 F.Appx. 109, 111 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Harsco Corp. v. Segui, 91 F.3d 337, 348 (2d Cir. 1996)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Here, plaintiff has pleaded sufficient facts to establish all four elements of a breach-of-contract claim. First, plaintiff alleges that it entered into a written contract (the "Producer Agreement") with Young Money to furnish the production services of Ramon Owen to Young Money in connection with a master sound recording (the "Master Recording"). (See Compl. ¶¶ 9, 10, Ex. A.) According the Complaint, Cash Money distributed the Master Recording that plaintiff produced (id. ¶ 13), and owed a duty "to account directly to [p]laintiff as to all royalties accruing or which otherwise would have accrued pursuant to the Producer Agreement" (id. ¶ 14). Second, plaintiff alleges that it adequately performed the contract by furnishing the agreed-upon production services. (See id. ¶¶ 11-13, 15.) Third, plaintiff alleges that defendants breached the contract by failing to pay plaintiff the monies due under the Producer Agreement. (See id. ...


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