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Rafferty v. Keypoint Government Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 19, 2016

CONSTANCE R. RAFFERTY, Plaintiff,
v.
KEYPOINT GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS, INC., a Delaware corporation; and JOINT TECHNICAL SERVICES, LLC, a New Mexico limited liability company, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendant Joint Technical Services, LLC's (“JTS”) Motion to Set Aside Clerk's Entry of Default. Dkt. 12. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Constance Rafferty sued defendants on May 20, 2016. See Compl., Dkt. 1. She filed an amended complaint on August 15, 2016, and served defendant JTS with a copy of the amended complaint the next day, August 16, 2016. See Am. Compl., Dkt. 4; Affidavit of Service, Dkt. 5-1. JTS did not timely respond, and on September 27, 2016, the Court Clerk entered the company's default. See Dkt. 10. Shortly after the Clerk entered JTS's default, JTS filed the pending motion to set aside the default. See Oct. 6, 2016 Mot., Dkt. 12. Plaintiff opposes the motion, contending that JTS has not adequately explained its failure to timely respond. See Opp., Dkt.23.

         The details surrounding the service of the complaint on JTS, and JTS's appearance before this Court, are as follows: JTS is a New Mexico limited liability company. It has designated Corporation Service Company (CSC) as its registered agent for service of process in Idaho. On August 16, 2016, plaintiff's process server hand delivered a copy of the complaint and summons to Megan Dickson of CSC at an address in Boise, Idaho. See Aff. of Service, Dkt. 5-1.

         JTS does not dispute the August 16, 2016 service, but Virginia Buckmelter, a managing member of JTS, says she did not become aware of this lawsuit until September 23, 2016. See Buckmelter Dec., Dkt. 12-1, ¶¶ 3-4 (“The Notice of Process form indicated that Corporation Service Company was served on August 16, 2016, but I had no notice of the Rafferty case until September 23, 2016.”). Buckmelter says she received a Federal Express package on September 23, 2016, but she does not provide further detail. JTS concludes that CSC must have slipped up in transmitting a copy of the complaint to JTS management. In any event, Buckmelter quickly retained an attorney for JTS and the company promptly filed a motion to set aside the entry of default. See Moody Dec., Dkt, 12-2, ¶ 4. JTS says it is ready to file a response and litigate this matter if given the chance.

         Rafferty objects to relief from entry of default. She says JTS failed to provide enough detail to qualify for such relief. More specifically, Rafferty says JTS should answer (or provide more detailed answers) to these questions:

(1) What happened between August 16, 2016, the date plaintiff served the complaint on JTS's registered agent, and September 23, 2016, the date JTS's managing member Buckmelter says she was made aware of the case?
(2) Why was Buckmelter provided with physical copies via FedEx as opposed to electronic copies, given that CSC's website indicates it provides same-day electronic delivery?
(3) Who sent the FedEx package to Buckmelter?
(4) Why was that FedEx package routed through Tennessee?

         For the reasons explained below, the Court believes JTS has provided sufficient information to qualify for relief from default, despite not providing the sort of detail plaintiff has requested.

         THE ...


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