United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge
Amerifactors Financial Group, LLC ("Amerifactors")
filed this case on January 22, 2019 against PHD Technology
Solutions, LLC ("PHD"), Donnell Wayne Friend
("Friend"), and Chris D. Carlucci
"Defendants"), alleging breach of contract, fraud,
and unjust enrichment resulting from a factoring arrangement
under which Amerifactors agreed to purchase accounts
generated by PHD and guaranteed by Friend and Carlucci.
(Compl., ECF No. 1.) The summons to PHD and Friend were
served on January 28, 2019, and the summons to Carlucci was
served on February 3, 2019. (ECF Nos. 7, 8.) The deadline for
Answers by Defendants passed without a response from any
March 3, 2011, Amerifactors filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, seeking a money judgment against Defendants under
the applicable contracts as well as a judgment for fraud.
(ECF No. 9.) No. Defendant responded to the motion.
April 26, 2016, Amerifactors filed a Motion for Clerk's
Entry of Default for want of answer or other defense. (ECF
No. 11.) The Clerk's Entry of Default was entered on May
3, 2019. (ECF No. 12.) Each Defendant was sent a Notice of
You have thirty (30) days from this date to file a motion to
vacate the order of default If you do not take action by this
date, the Court will act promptly on any pending motions for
entry of default judgment, which may result in a monetary
judgment against you.
(ECF Nos. 13, 14, 15.) No. Defendant filed any response nor
any motion to vacate the order of default. More than 45 days
later, on June 19, 2019, Amerifactors filed a Motion for
Entry of Default Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55. (ECF
plaintiff to obtain a default judgment, Rule 55 sets forth a
two-step process that first requires the entry of a default
by the clerk or the court under Rule 55(a) and then entry of
a default judgment under Rule 55(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 55.
Although courts maintain "a strong policy that cases be
decided on the merits," United States v. Schaffer
Equip. Co., 11 F.3d 450, 453 (4th Cir. 1993), a court
may exercise its discretion in granting default judgment when
the "adversary process has been halted because of an
essentially unresponsive party." S.E.C. v.
Lawbaugh, 359 F.Supp.2d 418, 421 (D. Md. 2005). "A
court is empowered to enter a default judgment against a
defendant who fails to defend its case." Flynn v.
Williams Masonry, 233 F.R.D. 176, 177 (D.D.C. 2005).
effect of a defendant's failure to respond under these
circumstances is that "[a]n allegation-other than one
relating to the amount of damages-is admitted if a responsive
pleading is required and the allegation is not denied."-
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6). Therefore, the court accepts as true
the well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint related
to liability. Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253
F.3d 778, 780-81 (4th Or. 2001). Once liability is
established, the court must then determine the appropriate
amount of damages. See id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(c) limits the type and amount of
damages that may be entered as a result of a party's
default: "A default judgment must not differ in kind
from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded in the
pleadings." Where a complaint does not specify an
amount, "the court is required to make an independent
determination of the sum to be awarded." Adkins v.
Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15, 17 (D. D.C. 2001) (citing
S.E.C. v. Mgmt. Dynamics, Inc., 515 F.2d 801, 814
(2d Cir. 1975). In doing so, "[i]t is a familiar
practice and an exercise of judicial power for a court upon
default, by taking evidence when necessary or by computation
from facts of record, to fix the amount which the plaintiff
is lawfully entitled to recover and to give judgment
accordingly." Pope v. United States, 323 U.S.
1, 12 (1944). While the court may conduct an evidentiary
hearing to determine damages, it is not required to do so; it
may rely instead on affidavits or documentary evidence in the
record to determine the appropriate sum. See, e.g.,
Mongue v. Portofino Ristorante, 751 F.Supp.2d 789, 795
(D. Md. 2010) (collecting cases); see also 10A
Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2688 (3d ed.
is established in this case based on the undisputed factual
pleadings as well as by the affidavits and evidentiary record
(see ECF No. 17 exhibits) provided by
Amerifactors.In sum, between July 23, 2018 and October
9, 2018, Amerifactors advanced monies to PHD under a
factoring agreement, guaranteed by Friend and Carlucci. PHD
provided data showing the existence of invoices totaling
$375, 392.00 that were uncollectable. Part of that amount,
$280, 367.25, represented invalid, fraudulent invoices. In
October 2018, PHD permanently ceased operations without
notice to Amerifactors. In addition to the uncollectable
invoices, Amerifactors was damaged in the amount of $61,
447.13,  which represents PHD's failure to sell
the required volume of accounts required by the factoring
agreement. The damages total $436, 839.13. Based upon the
pleadings, the affidavits, and the evidentiary record, this
Court agrees with the damage calculations submitted by
this Court shall GRANT Plaintiffs Motion for Entry of Default
Judgment (ECF No. 17) and shall DENY AS MOOT Plaintiffs
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 9). Judgment by default
against all Defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount
of $436, 839.13, plus costs and post-judgment interest, shall
be entered in favor of the Plaintiff. Judgment shall be entered by
 Also, damages of $436, 839.13 in
compensatory damages were pleaded in the Complaint. (See,
e.g., ¶¶ 17, 24, ...