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Mevi Avocados, Inc. v. Maya Foods, LLC

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

March 7, 2017

MEVI AVOCADOS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MAYA FOODS, LLC and DORIS E. MARTINEZ, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DIIFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Mevi Avocados, Inc.'s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Entry of Default Judgment Against Maya Foods, LLC [9] (“Motion for Default Judgment”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         Between June 16, 2014, and October 14, 2014, Plaintiff sold to Defendant Maya Foods, LLC (“Defendant”), in interstate commerce, wholesale quantities of produce worth $115, 808.00. (Compl. ¶ 7). Defendant accepted the produce from Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶ 8). At the time of Defendant's receipt of the produce, Plaintiff became a beneficiary in a statutory trust designed to assure payment to produce suppliers (“PACA Trust”). The PACA Trust consists of Defendant's produce or produce-related assets, including all funds commingled with funds from other sources and all assets procured by such funds, in the possession of control of Defendant since the creation of the trust. (Compl. ¶ 9). Plaintiff preserved its interest in the PACA Trust in the amount of $110, 068.00 by sending invoices to Defendant containing the statutory language required to preserve trust benefits under 7 U.S.C. §499e(c)(4). (Compl. ¶ 10).

         Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff $110, 068.00 in PACA Trust funds. (See Compl. ¶ 13; [9.2] at ¶ 7; Statement of Account [9.5]; Invoices [9.6]).

         B. Procedural History

         On October 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant and its director Doris E. Martinez, pursuant to the trust provision of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”), Section 5(c), 7 U.S.C. § 499e(c).

         On January 11, 2017, the Clerk of Court entered default with respect to Defendant. On January 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Default Judgment, requesting the Court to enter default judgment against Defendant pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 55(b)(1) or 55(b)(2), and Section 5(c) of the PACA, 7 U.S.C. § 499e(c). Plaintiff seeks $156, 315.63, which includes (1) the principal amount of $110, 068.00, (2) interest through January 13, 2017, at the rate of 18% per annum, in the amount of $38, 528.38, and (3) attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $7, 719.25.

         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 for not appearing and who is neither a minor nor an incompetent person.
(2) By the Court. In all other cases, the party must apply to the court for a default judgment. . . . If the party against whom a default judgment is sought has appeared personally or by a representative, that party or its representative must be served with written notice of the application at least 7 days before the hearing. The court may ...

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