United States District Court, S.D. Georgia
GODBEY WOOD, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Richard and Amanda Byrd move for entry of default judgment
against Defendants Drive Electric, LLC and Drive Electric
USA, LLC (collectively, "Drive Electric"); Zone
Electric Car USA, LLC ("Zone Electric"); and
Western Golf Car Sales Co., Inc.; Western Golf Car
Manufacturing, Inc.; and Lido Motors USA, Inc. (collectively,
"Western/Lido") (all together,
"Defendants"). Dkt. No. 52. The Motion will be
Court deems the Byrds' well-pled factual allegations
admitted by Defendants' default. See United States v.
Elliott, No. 1:15-CV-106, 2016 WL 4083738, at *1 (S.D.
Ga. Aug. 1, 2016) . The Byrds are a married couple who lived
in Savannah, Georgia. Dkt. No. 1 ¶ l. Around December
22, 2009, they bought a Neighborhood Electrical Vehicle
("NEV") sold, designed, assembled, inspected, and
manufactured by, and equipped with components from,
Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. The NEV's
electrical-power junction, through which energy passed to
charge the NEV, was too small. Id. ¶¶
15-16. This caused a May 9, 2011 electrical fire that
destroyed the NEV and the Byrds' SUV, and spread into
their home. Id. ¶ 17.
Byrds filed this lawsuit on May 6, 2015. See generally
id. Service of process was perfected on November 4,
2015. Dkt. Nos. 14-16, 18-19, 38-39. Defendants did not
answer, and the Clerk entered defaults on August 9 and
October 11, 2016. Dkt. Nos. 44, 50. The Byrds moved for entry
of default judgment on December 6, 2016. Dkt. No. 52. The
Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2017; Defendants did
not appear or respond. See Dkt. No. 68. The Byrds
timely supplemented their briefing on April 7, 2017. Dkt. No.
an adequate basis in the pleadings, the Court has discretion
to enter default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b); United
States v. Elliott, No. 1:15-CV-106, 2016 WL 4083738, at
*1 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 1, 2016); Am. Contractors Indemnity Co.
v. Energy Smart Insulation Co., No. 6:15-CV-66, 2016 WL
3395546, at *1 (S.D. Ga. June 15, 2016) (citing
Nishimatsu Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank,
515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975)).
Byrds are entitled to entry of default judgment because
Defendants are in default, the Court has jurisdiction, there
is an adequate basis for finding liability, and the Byrds
adequately proved damages.
DEFENDANTS ABE IN DEFAULT.
are in default. Dkt. Nos. 44, 50. This is so even though the
Byrds filed an amended complaint after entry of default, as
they "did not assert any new claims."
Saint-Gobain Autover USA, Inc. v. Fuyao Glass Indus. Grp.
Co., No. 05-71079, 2005 WL 3454402, at *1 (E.D. Mich.
Dec. 16, 2005) (finding no obligation to serve amended
complaint on defaulting defendant); see also Varnes v.
Loc. 91, Glass Bottle Blowers Ass'n of U.S. &
Can., 674 F.2d 1365, 1369 (11th Cir. 1982).
THE COURT HAS JURISDICTION.
Court has jurisdiction. It has diversity subject matter
jurisdiction. The Byrds were Arkansas residents when they
filed this lawsuit, Defendants were not, and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. Dkt. No. 1 ¶¶ 1-8,
Court also has personal jurisdiction over each Defendant
compliant with Georgia's long-arm statute and federal
constitutional due process. The plaintiff bears the burden of
proving that both requirements are satisfied. See,
e.g., RMS Titanic, Inc. v. Kingsmen Creatives,
Ltd., 579 F.App'x 779, 783 (11th Cir. 2014) (per
curiam). The Byrds have carried that burden here.
Personal Jurisdiction Satisfies Georgia Law.
jurisdiction over Drive Electric, Zone Electric, and
Western/Lido satisfies the Georgia long-arm statute.
The Court has long-arm jurisdiction over Drive
long-arm statute gives the Court jurisdiction over Drive
Electric. That law extends "personal jurisdiction over
any nonresident who transacts any business in this
State." Innovative Clinical & Consulting Serv.,
LLC v. First Nat'l Bank of Ames, 620 S.E.2d
352, 355 (Ga. 2005) (citing O..C.G.A. § 9-10-91(1)). The
nonresident need not physically enter Georgia. Diamond
Crystal Brands, Inc. v. Food Movers Int'l,
Inc., 593 F.3d 1249, 1264 (11th Cir. 2010) (discussing
"a nonresident's mail, telephone calls, and other
“intangible' acts") . Drive Electric came
within reach of the long-arm statute by selling the Byrds an
NEV through its website and shipping it to them in Georgia.
See Dkt. No. 4 9 at 1-2, 3 ¶ 1.
The Court has long-arm jurisdiction over Zone
Electric also comes within reach of Georgia's long-arm
statute. The Byrds evidenced that Zone Electric made their
NEV to order, and that Zone Electric transferred ownership of
the as-yet-unmanufactured NEV to Drive Electric as soon as
they placed their order. Dkt. Nos. 70-2, 70-3. This is enough
to satisfy Georgia's long-arm statute, as is clear from
two cases. In Vibratech, Inc. v. Frost, 661
S.E.2d 185, 187 (Ga.Ct.App. 2008), the New York defendant
manufactured an allegedly defective part of an airplane
engine. The part was shipped to an Alabama company, which
installed the part into the engine. Id. The
plaintiffs bought the engine from a Texas company.
Id. The Texas company had the Alabama company ship
the part to the plaintiffs in Georgia. Id. The
Georgia Court of Appeals found that the New York defendant
had transacted business in Georgia, because the New York
defendant and the Alabama company "had a longstanding
business relationship" to make parts for use in engines
across America. Id. at 190. Thus, "although
[the New York defendant] did not conduct any sales activities
in Georgia itself, its business ha[d] been directly affected
by sales transactions occurring here, " and so Georgia
courts had long-arm jurisdiction. Id. (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). Zone Electric is in a
similar position. It has a longstanding business relationship
with Drive Electric to manufacture products to be sold
throughout America, and "its business has been directly
affected by sales transactions" in Georgia. See
Dkt. Nos. 70-16 (boasting of seven Drive Electric NEV sales
in Georgia, beyond the one to the Byrds); 70-17 (describing
Drive Electric as a Zone Electric authorized dealer).
instructive is Showa Denko K.K. v. Pangle, 414
S.E.2d 658 (Ga.Ct.App. 1991). There, the Japanese defendant
manufactured raw materials that non-Georgia entities used to
make food supplements. Id. at 659. The defendant
sold the materials to "twenty-three [manufacturers] in
nine states." Id. at 660. Some of those ran
nationwide retail chains. Id. "As a result,
[materials] produced by [the defendant were] placed in the
stream of commerce in virtually all 50 states."
Id. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the
defendant's "sale of goods in another state, knowing
that they [would] be resold" in Georgia, triggered
long-arm jurisdiction. Id. Zone Electric even more
neatly fits under this rule than did the Showa Denko
K.K. defendant-it made NEVs to order, including for the
Byrds in Georgia. See Dkt. Nos. 70-2, 70-3. Thus,
Georgia's long-arm statute reaches it.
The Court has long-arm jurisdiction over
jurisdiction over Western/Lido exists for the same reasons.
Western/Lido supposedly assemble and inspect the NEVs that
Drive Electric sells. Dkt. No. 70 at 16-17. This means that
they, too, have a longstanding business relationship with
Drive Electric to put NEVs onto streets nationwide, knowingly
send NEVs into the nationwide stream of commerce, ...