United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR DEFAULT
Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge.
case is before me on a motion (Doc. No. 10) for default
judgment by plaintiff United States of America (the
Government). Defendants have filed a resistance (Doc. No. 15)
and the Government has filed a reply (Doc. No. 20). I find
that oral argument is not necessary. See Local Rule
September 21, 2018, the Government filed its complaint (Doc.
No. 1) for ejectment and injunctive relief. Service of the
complaint was not easily accomplished due to defendant
William Hubbard Jr.'s attempts to evade service - as
described in Judge Mahoney's order denying
defendants' motion to set aside the entry of default.
See Doc. No. 29 at 3-5. On October 29, 2018, the
Government moved for the entry of default and the Clerk of
Court entered default the same day. See Doc. Nos. 6,
7. Defendants' counsel sent a letter to the Government
dated November 13, 2018, asking to speak about
defendants' case. See Doc. No. 29 at 6. The
Government provided defendants' attorney with the
relevant court documents. Id.
November 27, 2018, defendants filed a motion (Doc. No. 9) to
set aside the default entry. On December 11, 2018, the
Government filed its motion (Doc. No. 10) for default
judgment. On December 17, 2018, defendants filed an answer
(Doc. No. 12). Judge Mahoney denied defendants' motion to
set aside the default entry on March 29, 2019. See
Doc. No. 29. Defendants had the opportunity to appeal Judge
Mahoney's ruling to me but did not do so. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); see also N.D. Ia. L.R. 72A
(providing that a party who objects to a magistrate
judge's order on a civil pretrial matter must file
objections within 14 days after service of the order).
Because default has been entered, and has not been set aside,
I consider whether the Government is entitled to the entry of
judgment by default.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 provides, in relevant
(a) ENTERING A DEFAULT. When a party against whom a judgment
for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or
otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or
otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's default.
(b) ENTERING A DEFAULT JUDGMENT.
(1) By the Clerk. If the plaintiff's claim is
for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by
computation, the clerk-on the plaintiff's request, with
an affidavit showing the amount due-must enter judgment for
that amount and costs against a defendant who has been
defaulted for not appearing and who is neither a minor nor an
(2) By the Court. In all other cases, the party must
apply to the court for a default judgment. . . . If the party
against whom a default judgment is sought has appeared
personally or by a representative, that party or its
representative must be served with written notice of the
application at least 7 days before the hearing. The court may
conduct hearings or make referrals-preserving any federal
statutory right to a jury trial-when, to enter or effectuate
judgment, it needs to:
(A) conduct an accounting;
(B) determine the amount of damages;
(C) establish the truth of any allegation by evidence; or
(D) investigate any other matter.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a)-(b). Thus, as this court has ...