United States District Court, N.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
Lawrence E. Kahn U.S. District Judge
Coast-To-Coast Produce Company, LLC ("CCPC")
brought this action against Defendants Mountain Fresh Farms,
LLC ("MFF") and Carole Crimivaroli to recover
payment for produce sold to MFF over the course of several
months. Dkt. No. 1 ("Complaint"). CCPC subsequently
filed a motion for default judgment pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 55(b). Dkt. Nos. 12 ("Motion"),
12-3 ("Memorandum"). For the following reasons, the
Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Connecticut LLC and wholesale produce distributor, is a
licensed dealer as defined in the Perishable Agricultural
Commodities Act ("PACA"), 7 U.S.C. § 499a,
et seq. Compl. ¶ 3. MFF, a New York LLC, is
also a wholesale produce distributor, and Crimivaroli is an
officer, manager, and member of MFF with control over its
operations. Id. ¶¶ 4-5. CCPC provides
invoices showing that between December 21, 2015, and June 7,
2016, CCPC sold and delivered $72,820.00 in produce to MFF.
Id. ¶ 7; Dkt. No. 12-2 ("Exhibits")
at 18-39. Despite repeated requests, MFF has failed
to pay the $72,820.00 that it owes to CCPC for produce
delivered during that time period. Id. ¶ 8.
7, 2016, CCPC filed the Complaint in this action asserting a
variety of statutory and common law causes of action and
seeking damages and interest. Id. ¶ 41.
Defendants did not file a responsive pleading, and on August
5, 2016, the Clerk of the Court filed an entry of default
against Defendants at CCPC's request. Dkt. No. 9. On
August 8, 2016, CCPC filed the Motion for Default Judgment
seeking monetary relief on its PACA claims in the amount of
$72,820.00 in unpaid invoices and $3,145.02 in prejudgment
interest. Mot. at 1. Defendants have not responded or
otherwise appeared in this case. On September 20, 2016, CCPC
filed a suggestion of bankruptcy as to Crimivaroli,
requesting that all actions against Crimivaroli be stayed
pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362, Dkt. No. 13
("Suggestion of Bankruptcy"), and the Court granted
that request, Dkt. No. 15.
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." Elec. Creations Corp. v.
Gigahertz, Inc., No. 12-CV-1423, 2013 WL 3229125, at *3
(N.D.N.Y. June 25, 2013) (quoting Robertson v. Doe,
No. 05-CV-7046, 2008 WL 2519894, at *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. Second, under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2), "the party seeking
default judgment is required to present its application for
entry of judgment to the court." Id.
a default is entered, the defendant is deemed to have
admitted all of the well-pleaded factual allegations in the
complaint pertaining to liability." Bravado
Int'l Grp. Merch. Servs., Inc. v. Ninna, Inc., 655
F.Supp.2d 177, 188 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (citing Greyhound
Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. EX. 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);
accord Bravado Int'l, 655 F.Supp.2d at 189.
"[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, 2008 WL 2519894, at *3.
"The burden is on the plaintiff to establish its
entitlement to recovery." Bravado Int'l,
655 F.Supp.2d at 189. "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.
Local Rule 55.2(b), the moving party must submit with its
motion for default judgment: (1) a clerk's certificate of
entry of default, (2) a proposed form of default judgment,
(3) a copy of the pleading to which no response has been
made, and (4) an affidavit. L.R. 55.2(b). The affidavit must
set forth that: (1) the party against whom judgment is sought
is not an infant, incompetent, or in military service; (2)
the party against whom judgment is sought has defaulted in
appearance in the action; (3) service was properly effected
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4; (4) the amount
sought is justly due and owing, and no part has been paid;
and (5) the disbursements sought to be taxed have been made
in the action or will necessarily be made or incurred. L.R.
Motion was filed along with all of the information required
by Local Rule 55.2(b). Exs. at 1-7, 15, 46-47; Dkt. No. 12-1
("Brown Declaration"). Additionally, CCPC submitted
an attorney declaration containing all of the information
required by Local Rule 55.2(a). Brown Decl. ¶¶ 3-4,
6, 8-9. Accordingly, the Court now considers the substance of
order to promote fairness in the interstate market for
produce, "PACA provides that a dealer who receives goods
or derives proceeds from a wholesaler's produce ... is to
hold those goods in trust for the benefit of the unpaid
seller." Maspeth Trading, Inc. v. Ou Jiang
Supermarket, Inc., No. 12-CV-1997, 2014 WL 3548507, at
*4 (E.D.N.Y. July 17, 2014) (quoting S. Katzman Produce,
Inc. v. Won, No. 08-CV-2403, 2009 WL ...