United States District Court, D. Idaho
SHALYNN F. PADDOCK, M.B. and A.P., Plaintiff,
ANDREW BALLOU; BRIANA DIXON; COUNTY OF CANYON, a public entity; IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE CPA; RAYCHELLE MINDEN, in her individual capacity; MIRANDA SQUIBB, in her individual capacity; JASMINE OLMEDO, in her individual capacity; ARACELI LUNA, in her individual capacity; CALDWELL POLICE DEPARTMENT; OFFICER T. EDWARDS, in his individual capacity; OFFICER DEFUR, in his individual capacity KIDS SERVICES, INC. of Caldwell, Canyon County, Idaho; and JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-50, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye U.S. District Court Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff Shalynn Paddock's Motion
for Entry of Default Judgment. Dkt. 47. This Motion is
premature and procedurally improper; therefore, the Court
will DENY the Motion. Additionally, this case has other
procedural flaws that preclude default judgment in the first
place. The Court will address these issues as well.
requests entry of default judgment against each of the
defendants who have failed to appear in this case. Paddock
makes the request under Federal Rule of Procedure 55(b) and
asks the Court to enter judgment in the amount of $500, 000
as requested in her Complaint. Dkt. 1.
fails to understand the two-step process required by Rule 55.
When a defendant has “failed to pled or otherwise
defend, ” the clerk must enter the party's default.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). This is a prerequisite to
default judgement under Rule 55(b). See generally
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55; Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470,
1471 (9th Cir. 1986). Paddock, however, has not asked the
clerk to enter default. This is the first reason the Court
must deny Paddock's Motion. Additionally, if the clerk
enters a party's default under Rule 55(a), Rule 55(b)
outlines when the clerk must enter default judgment and when
the Court must enter default judgment. The main distinction
between the two is that if the claim is for a “sum
certain or a sum that can be made certain by computation,
” the clerk can enter default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(1). In all other cases, however, the Court must enter
default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Contrary to
Paddock's assertion, the generic request of $500, 000 in
her Complaint for damages does not qualify as a sum certain.
See Franchise Holding II, LLC. v. Huntington Rests. Grp.,
Inc., 375 F.3d 922, 929 (9th Cir. 2004).
Rule 55(b)(1) only applies to defendants that have defaulted
for failure to appear under Rule 55(a) and a person can only
fail to appear if he or she had proper service of the
lawsuit. As just noted, because the amount requested is not a
sum certain, the Court would most likely need to undertake
default judgment proceedings under Rule 55(b)(2) anyway-which
requires notice to all parties-but that aside, Paddock has
failed to properly serve the parties she requests default
against in the first place. In other words, Paddock cannot
seek Rule 55(b) default judgment because she has not sought a
Rule 55(a) clerk's entry of default and she cannot seek a
Rule 55(a) clerk's entry of default because she has not
correctly served the defendants against whom she seeks
default judgment. This is the second reason the Court must
deny Paddock's Motion.
case, there are twelve Defendants. Three of the Defendants
have filed appearances (and subsequently moved for dismissal
of this action). Paddock's Motion for Entry of Default is
against the remaining nine Defendants. Paddock, however, has
not properly served these Defendants and/or some of them are
not even proper parties in this lawsuit. The status of the
Defendants in this case is as follows:
BALLOU: Paddock served this Defendant (Dkt. 15), and he has
made an appearance (Dkt. 3).
DIXON: Paddock served this Defendant (Dkt. 14), and she has
made an appearance (Dkt. 4).
SERVICES, INC. of Caldwell, Canyon County, Idaho: Paddock
served this Defendant (Dkt. 12), and it has made an
appearance (Dkt. 10).
OF CANYON, a public entity: Paddock incorrectly served Canyon
County Prosecuting Attorney (Dkt. 17) in lieu of this
Defendant. See I.R.C.P. 4(d)(4).Paddock must
correctly serve this Defendant.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE CPA: Paddock incorrectly
served Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney (Dkt. 16) in lieu
of this Defendant. See I.R.C.P. 4(d)(4). Paddock
must correctly serve this Defendant.
MINDEN, in her individual capacity: Paddock has not submitted