United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, a national banking association Plaintiff,
G & M PRIDE, INC. d/b/a FAUBION PLUMBING, HEATING and A/C, and MARCUS D. HITE Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. LEICHTY JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
National Association filed this action to collect on two
loans in default under theories of breach of contract and
breach of guaranty. ECF 1. Defendants G & M Pride, Inc.
and Marcus D. Hite have neither responded to the complaint
nor appeared in the case. An entry of default has been made
under Rule 55(a) (ECF 9), and KeyBank now brings a motion for
default judgment under Rule 55(b)(2) (ECF 11).
complaint arises from two notes signed by G & M and
guaranteed by Mr. Hite. The first agreement, a U.S. Small
Business Administration Note, executed on October 16, 2012,
was for $284, 000.00. ECF 11-1 at 10. The second agreement, a
promissory note, executed on October 16, 2012, was for a
$100, 000.00. Id. at 17. Per their terms, both loans
were to be considered in default upon any non-payment.
Id. at 12, 18. The agreements also stated that G
& M and Mr. Hite would be responsible for any expenses
incurred in any effort to collect any amount due, including
reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Id. at 12.
While G & M made payments for several years, both
agreements defaulted on or about December 1, 2018 due to
nonpayment. Id. at 45-48. On January 9, 2019,
KeyBank declared the entire unpaid balance, accrued interest,
and other charges under the agreements and requested payment
from the defendants. Id.
after properly filing for an entry of default under Rule
55(a), is now requesting an order granting default judgment
against defendants, jointly and severally, for $235, 994.88
in damages, plus interest in the amount of $15, 084.27, $1,
070.11 in fees, $800 in costs, and $1, 208.00 as attorney
fees, for a total of $252, 149.26. ECF 11 at 2. In support of
their request, KeyBank has submitted the affidavit of Jeanne
Chojnacki, Assistant Vice President, Commercial Workout
Relationship Manager to KeyBank, (ECF 11-1) detailing the
amounts owed; and the affidavit of Dafney Stokes, counsel for
KeyBank, detailing the attorney fees and costs (ECF 11-3).
court has discretion in granting a motion for default
judgment. See O'Brien v. R.J. O'Brien &
Assocs., Inc., 998 F.2d 1394, 1398 (7th Cir. 1993). A
default judgment is justified when “the defaulting
party has exhibited a willful refusal to litigate the case
properly, ” as shown by “a party's continuing
disregard for the litigation and for the procedures of the
court” and a “willful choice not to exercise even
a minimal level of diligence.” Davis v.
Hutchins, 321 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2003). Generally,
all well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint will be
taken as true and entitle plaintiff to relief. See Wehrs
v. Wells, 688 F.3d 886, 892 (7th Cir. 2012). Beyond the
well-pleaded allegations, the court may also consider several
factors when determining whether to grant a default judgment,
including: (1) the amount of money requested; (2) delays
resulting in prejudice to the plaintiff; (3) material issues
of fact or substantial public importance; (4) and whether the
default is strictly technical. Cameron v. Myers, 569
F.Supp.2d 762, 764 (N.D. Ind. 2008).
determination of liability does not end the default judgment
analysis. Once liability has been determined, the damages
alleged by the plaintiff must still be proven. See
Wehrs, 688 F.3d at 892. An evidentiary hearing is
required to determine damages unless the plaintiff is seeking
a reasonably certain amount that can be ascertained through
documentary evidence or detailed affidavits, as is the case
here. Domanus v. Lewicki, 742 F.3d 290, 304 (7th
Cir. 2014) (citing Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe &
Concrete Prods., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1322 (7th Cir.
case, a hearing is not necessary to determine that KeyBank is
entitled to a default judgment. Taking all well-pleaded
factual allegations in the complaint as true, KeyBank has
established that the loans have gone into default and that G
& M and Mr. Hite have been given an opportunity to
respond to KeyBank's demand for payment before this
has also met its evidentiary burden for damages. The
affidavit of Jeanne Chojnacki lists the unpaid principal and
accrued interest. ECF 11-1 at 7. KeyBank has also provided
documentary evidence, such as the notes and notices of
demand. Id. at 10-48. Similarly, the affidavit of
Dafney Stokes provides itemized billing statements, the
amounts charged for each task, and any court costs. ECF 11-3
at 35-45. The court is satisfied that this evidence is
sufficient to show the amount requested is reasonably
certain; therefore, an evidentiary hearing is not necessary.
The collective evidence supports KeyBank's demand for
$252, 149.26. ECF 11 at 2.
court GRANTS KeyBank's motion for default judgment
against defendants G & M Pride, Inc. d/b/a Faubion
Plumbing, Heating and A/C and Marcus D. Hite. ECF 11.
Accordingly, the court DIRECTS the clerk to enter judgment in
KeyBank's favor and against defendants, jointly and