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Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America v. ASF Intermodal, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

March 7, 2017

TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA, as subrogee of Redwood Logistics, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ASF INTERMODAL, LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Travelers Property Casualty Company of America's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Entry of Default Judgment [6].

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         Plaintiff provided property cargo coverage for its insured, Redwood Logistics, LLC (“Redwood”). (Compl. [1] ¶ 7). Redwood acted as a broker for Rexam, a cargo shipper. (Id.). Redwood arranged transportation with Defendant ASF Intermodal, LLC (“Defendant”) to ship food-grade aluminum can tops (the “Cargo”) from Alabama to Georgia. (Compl. ¶ 8). On April 30, 2015, while the Cargo was in a trailer parked in Defendant's shipping yard in Conley, Georgia, the trailer was struck by another of Defendant's trucks, resulting in the Cargo becoming environmentally contaminated. (Compl. ¶ 9).

         Redwood made a claim with Plaintiff under its property cargo policy. Plaintiff paid Redwood $95, 114.79 for the claimed damages, and Redwood incurred a $10, 000 deductible. (Compl. ¶ 11). A portion of the Cargo was able to be sold to a secondary buyer for $17, 384.17. (Id.). The balance including Redwood's deductible and the applied credit for the sale to the secondary buyer is $87, 730.62. (Id.). By making its payment to Redwood, Plaintiff became subrogated to the rights of Redwood to pursue Defendant for the damages to the Cargo. (Compl. ¶ 12).

         B. Procedural History

         On August 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint, alleging a cause of action under 49 U.S.C. § 14706, et seq. (the “Carmack Amendment”). Plaintiff seeks $87, 730.62 in damages, plus costs.

         On November 29, 2016, Defendant was served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint. To date, Defendant has not filed any responsive pleading.

         On February 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. Plaintiff seeks $87, 730.62 in damages, $3, 137.40 in attorneys' fees, and $400 in court costs. To support its claim for damages, Plaintiff includes, among other documents, (1) the affidavit of Megan Muth, its claim profession who investigated the incident, (2) a letter from Rexam supporting that a breach of load integrity-as alleged here-is grounds to reject the load and declare it contaminated; (3) Rexam's transportation agreement; (4) Redwood's carrier contract and rate confirmation; (5) Rexam's claim form stating that the Cargo was “scrapped” due to risk of contamination; (6) a letter from Defendant to Rexam declining to pay Rexam's request for payment, stating that the “cargo packaging was not damaged or compromised in any way.” ([6.2]). Plaintiff supports its attorneys' fees request with a detailed account of its billing. ([6.3]).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that default judgment may be entered against defaulting defendants as follows:

(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 ...

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