United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, LaFayette Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's, Design
Basics, LLC, Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against
Defendant [ECF No. 14] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs the entry of default and
default judgment. Prior to obtaining a default judgment under
Rule 55(b)(2), there must be an entry of default as provided
by Rule 55(a). Am. Acceptance Co., LLC v. Goldberg,
No. 2:08-CV-9, 2008 WL 838813, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 28,
2008). In the Seventh Circuit, “well-pleaded
allegations of the complaint relating to liability are taken
as true.” Merrill Lynch Mortg. Corp. v.
Narayan, 908 F.2d 246, 253 (7th Cir. 1990) (quoting
United States v. DiMucci, 879 F.2d 1488, 1497 (7th
Cir. 1989)). If a plaintiff's allegations are well-pled,
a default judgment, as a general rule,
“‘establishe[s], as a matter of law, that
defendants [are] liable to plaintiff as to each cause of
action alleged in the complaint.'” Dundee
Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete Prods., Inc.,
722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983) (alterations in original)
(quoting Breuer Elec. Mfg. Co. v. Toronado Sys. of Am.,
Inc., 687 F.2d 182, 186 (7th Cir. 1982)); see also
O'Brien v. R.J. O'Brien & Assocs., Inc., 998
F.2d 1394, 1404 (7th Cir. 1993).
party moving for a default judgment must then establish
entitlement to the relief sought. In re Catt, 368
F.3d 789, 793 (7th Cir. 2004). While the well-pleaded
allegations of the complaint with respect to liability are
taken as true, the amount of damages must still be proved.
Gard v. B & T Fin. Servs., LLC, No. 2:12-CV-005,
2013 WL 228816, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 22, 2013) (citing
Wehrs v. Wells, 688 F.3d 886, 892 (7th Cir. 2012)).
Courts must ascertain with reasonable certainty the proper
amount to award as damages to the prevailing party, based
upon either an evidentiary hearing or from definite figures
contained in documentary evidence or in detailed affidavits.
In re Catt, 368 F.3d at 793; Dundee Cement
Co., 722 F.2d at 1323. Rule 55(b)(2) authorizes a court
to “conduct hearings or make referrals . . . when, to
enter or effectuate judgment, it needs to: (A) conduct an
accounting; (B) determine the amount of actual damages; (C)
establish the truth of any allegation by evidence; or (D)
investigate any other matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
Plaintiff's nine-count Complaint [ECF No. 1], filed on
November 30, 2018, alleges that the Defendant violated the
Plaintiff's copyrights in violation of 17 U.S.C. §
106(1)-(2), (5) and 17 U.S.C § 1202 et seq. of
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).
The Plaintiff seeks various forms of relief, including actual
damages, direct and indirect profits attributable to the
Defendant's infringements, or in the alternative, an
award of statutory damages in lieu of actual damages,
attorney's fees and costs, temporary and permanent
injunctions against the Defendant, and an award of statutory
damages for each violation of the DMCA.
to the requirements of Rule 55, the Plaintiff filed a Motion
for Clerks Entry of Default [ECF No. 12], which the Clerk
entered on March 7, 2019 [ECF No. 13]. The Plaintiff now
seeks an entry of default judgment. Within the Seventh
Circuit, judgment by default may not be entered without a
hearing unless “the amount claimed is liquidated or
capable of ascertainment from definite figures contained in
the documentary evidence or in detailed affidavits.”
Dundee Cement Co., 722 F.3d at 1323. The Seventh
Circuit permits “broad latitude” in quantifying
damages, “especially when the defendant's own
conduct impedes quantification.” BCS Servs.,
Inc. v. Heartwood 88, LLC637 F.3d 750, 759 (7th Cir.
2011). Further, when there are component parts to a damages
total, the court requires evidence to support the components
of the total damages. Id., (citing Dundee Cement
Co., 722 F.2d at 1324). The amount of damages sought,
must also “naturally flow from the injuries
pleaded.” Wehrs, 688 F.3d at 893.
Plaintiff has presented neither documentary evidence nor
detailed affidavits in support of its Motion for Entry of
Default Judgment. As such, a hearing is appropriate. The
Court now REFERS the Plaintiffs' Motion for Default
Judgment to Magistrate Judge Susan L. Collins for review, to
conduct any and all necessary evidentiary hearings, and to
issue a report and recommendation that includes proposed
findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition of
the Plaintiff's Motions. The Honorable Susan L. Collins
is specifically designated to exercise such jurisdiction of
this Court in accordance with the Federal Magistrate's
Act, as amended, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and N.D. Ind.
Local Rule 72-1.
district court will make a final determination after the
parties have been given an opportunity to file objections to
the proposed findings and recommendation in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
the Court WITHHOLDS its ruling on the Plaintiff's Motion
for Default Judgment [ECF No. 14] and REFERS the
Plaintiff's Motion for ...