United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Transfinity Logistics, Inc. is a trucking company that had a
brokerage agreement with defendant Road Trans Logistics LLC.
Transfinity alleges that for approximately a year-and-a-half,
it transported cargo under the agreement for Road Trans'
customer OSM, and was paid pursuant to the brokerage
agreement, but that for a period from mid-April to mid-June
of 2019, additional shipments transported for OSM by
Transfinity went unpaid, for a total of $87, 300. Transfinity
claims that, when questioned, Road Trans' sole member,
president and CEO, defendant Milorad Trkulja, explained that
Road Trans had been diverting its funds to defendant DM
Express (another of his businesses) to make payments on its
fleet of trucks. The complaint asserts claims for breach of
contract (Count I), violation of the Illinois and Indiana
Fraudulent Transfer Acts (Count II), and fraud (Count III).
before me is Transfinity's motion for default judgment
against all three defendants. [DE 7.] For several reasons,
the current motion will be denied. First, Transfinity has
failed to seek the entry of default under Rule 55(a), which
is a procedural step preceding the entry of default judgment
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). The entry of default represents a
determination that a defendant has failed to timely respond
to the complaint after being properly served with process. In
this case, the complaint was filed on August 12, 2019.
Affidavits of the process server evidence timely attempts to
serve the defendants on August 22, 2019. [DE 4, 5, 6.] The
affidavit representing service on Road Trans indicates that
at 1520 Blaine St. in Gary, described as a “secured
business, ” an unidentified Caucasian man with a beard
and glasses refused to accept the documents and the process
server “left them rolled up in the fence next to
him.” [DE 4.] Although the complaint identifies 1520
Blaine St. as one of Road Trans' two principal places of
business [DE 1 at ¶2], more explanation is required to
satisfy me that what occurred on August 22 constituted
effective service of process on Road Trans under Fed.R.Civ.P.
affidavit records service on defendant Trkulja by personal
delivery to him at 8090 W. 101st Place in St.
John, Indiana. [DE 5.] That address is alleged to be
Trkulja's residence, so that service appears to have
complied with Rule 4(e)(2)(A). [DE 1 at ¶4.] Service on
DM Express was attempted by delivery of the summons and
complaint to Trkulja at the same time and place as his
service as an individual. [DE 6.] The affidavit of service
reports that Trkulja accepted service for DM Express, and
“stated he was also Dejana the registered agent, its
all the same he said.” [Id.] Although the
meaning of this information is unclear, and the St. John
address is not one associated with DM Express in the
allegations of the complaint, Milorad Trkulja is alleged to
be DM Express's co-owner, operator and general manager,
such that he could validly accept service for the company
under Rule 4(h)(1)(B). All of this explanation and analysis
of the sufficiency of service should be offered by plaintiff
in support of a motion for entry of default under Rule 55(a).
request for entry of default judgment must also be denied
because Transfinity's motion does not address its legal
entitlement to judgment on any particular cause of action
that has been asserted. Although a default means the
well-pleaded facts of a complaint are deemed admitted, it
remains incumbent on a plaintiff to satisfy the court that
those facts support the requested relief on a particular
legal theory, otherwise absurd and entirely unjust judgments
could be obtained by default. The motion references all three
causes of action pled in the complaint, but without any
analysis why the facts deemed admitted by a default would
support judgment on those legal theories. The proposed order
submitted by Transfinity does not reference any of the three
claims or counts of the complaint. Transfinity's
treatment of the amount of its damages - by the spreadsheet
that is Exhibit 3 to the complaint [DE 1-3] and the
declaration of Dragan Latinovic in support of the motion for
default judgment [DE 7-1] - appears to be sufficient.
reasons I've explained, Transfinity's motion for
entry of default judgment will be denied without prejudice.
Transfinity may try again, this time with a motion for the
entry of default and a new motion for entry of default
judgment which address the shortcomings I have identified
Transfinity Logistics, Inc.'s motion for entry of default
judgment [DE 7] is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
 According to the affidavit, this
occurred at 7:55 p.m., which may suggest that the man upon
whom service was attempted at the other address at 7:28 p.m.