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First Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Inc. v. Bacter Waste Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

March 29, 2018

FIRST CITIZENS BANK & TRUST COMPANY, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
BACTER WASTE SOLUTIONS, LLC, and TYRE M. STONE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court are Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendant Bacter Waste Solutions, LLC (Doc. 30) and Third Motion to Appoint Receiver (Doc. 29) . For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Third Motion to Appoint Receiver is DENIED and Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Default Judgment is GRANTED. Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file documentation supporting the requested award amounts pursuant to the default judgment within twenty-one days of the date of this order.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 8, 2016, Plaintiff First Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Inc. ("First Citizens") brought suit alleging that Defendants Bacter Waste Solutions, LLC ("Bacter Waste") and Tyre M. Stone failed to make regular payments in breach of certain provisions of a promissory note, guaranty, and two leases. (Doc.1.) As a result, Plaintiff alleges that it is entitled to damages, possession of certain property, and attorney's fees and costs. (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff maintains that it is entitled to have a receiver appointed to manage property located at 1907 Louisville Road, Savannah, Georgia 31415 ("Collateral Property"). (Id; ¶¶ 9, 26.)

         Neither Defendant has responded to Plaintiff's allegations. As a result, the Clerk of Court entered default as to Defendants Bacter Waste and Stone on January 11, 2017. (Doc. 19.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. 20.) On February 8, 2017, however, the Court was apprised of the existence of a bankruptcy as to Defendant Stone (Doc. 21) and subsequently stayed the case as to Defendant Stone (Doc. 22) . The Court also refused to enter default judgment as to Defendant Bacter Waste. (Doc. 28.) The Court reasoned that "Defendant Stone's liability [was] intertwined with Defendant Bacter Waste's liability [and] [i]t would be improvident for the Court to enter default judgment as to Defendant Bacter Waste in this case while being prohibited from doing so against Defendant Stone." (Id. at 2.)

         Throughout this case, Plaintiff has also filed a variety of motions requesting the appointment of a receiver to manage the Collateral Property. (Docs. 3, 11 & 15.) In those motions, Plaintiff maintained that a receiver was needed to ensure that the Collateral Property was properly managed. (Id.) Plaintiff's first and second requests were dismissed as moot due to this Court's initial concerns about its jurisdiction over this action. (Docs. 9 & 12.) Plaintiff's next request for a receiver was dismissed after the Court found that Plaintiff had improperly relied solely on Georgia law in its request for a receiver. (Doc. 28.) In dismissing that motion, the Court provided Plaintiff with fifteen days to file a corrected motion citing federal law. (Id.)

         Now, Plaintiff has filed a Renewed Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. 30) and a Third Motion to Appoint Receiver[1] (Doc 29). In its Renewed Motion for Default Judgment, Plaintiff contends that any potential claim against Defendant Stone has been discharged by the bankruptcy court. (Doc. 30.) Plaintiff now seeks default judgment against Defendant Bacter Waste. (Id.) In its Third Motion to Appoint Receiver, Plaintiff again contends that a receiver should be appointed to manage the Collateral Property in order to collect rental income from the property and prevent any destruction of it. (Doc. 29.) The Court will consider each of these motions in turn.

         ANALYSIS

         I. RENEWED MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

         In its Renewed Motion for Default judgment, Plaintiff again contends that it is entitled to an award of default judgment in this case. (Doc. 30.) Plaintiff has provided that the any potential claim of liability against Defendant Stone has been fully discharged through bankruptcy proceedings. (Id., Ex. A.) As a result, Plaintiff contends that it is now entitled to default judgment against Defendant Bacter Waste. (Doc. 30.) After careful review, Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Default Judgment is granted.

         In the Eleventh Circuit, default judgments are generally disfavored. There is no right to judgment by default; the matter lies solely within a court's discretion. Hamm v. DeKalb Cty., 774 F.2d 1567, 1576 (11th Cir. 1985). When considering a motion to enter default judgment, the "well-pleaded facts alleged in the complaint are deemed admitted, " Patray v. Nw. Publ'g., 931 F.Supp. 865, 869 (S.D. Ga. 1996), and the court must consider "the legal sufficiency of the allegations of the plaintiff's complaint, " Gibson v. Kirkwood Bar & Grill, LLC, No. 1:13-cv-308, 2014 WL 632357, at *1 (N.D.Ga. Feb. 18, 2014) (citing Bruce v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 699 F.Supp. 905, 906 (N.D.Ga. 1988)). After determining whether default judgment is appropriate, the Court must then enter any damage award.[2] In doing so, the Court "has an obligation to assure that there is a legitimate basis for any damage award it enters." Anheuser Busch, Inc. v. Philpot, 317 F.3d 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2003).

         In this case, the record is sufficient to support an entry of default judgment. Specifically, the record contains the admitted facts detailed in the second amended complaint (Doc. 14), all of the relevant documentation supporting Plaintiff's allegations (id., Exs. A-G), and an affidavit of service as to Defendant Bacter Waste (Doc. 16) . However, the Court is unable to award damages based on Plaintiff's motion. In its motion, Plaintiff requests $325, 237.83 in unpaid principal, $16, 267.91 in accrued interest, $2, 415.45 in late charges, $10, 012.36 in expenses, and $51, 225.86 in contractual attorneys' fees. Plaintiff, however, has provided no indication as to how these damages were calculated. Moreover, while Plaintiff attached an affidavit to an earlier motion supporting some of these figures (Doc. 20, Attach. 2), the Court is unable to determine the basis for some of the requested amounts. As a result, Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment is granted. However, Plaintiff is directed to file within twenty-one days documentation that provides more detailed information as to the requested damages and identifies evidence in the record that supports those awards.

         II. THIRD MOTION TO APPOINT A RECEIVER

         In addition, Plaintiff has filed a Third Motion to Appoint a Receiver. (Doc. 29.) In its motion, Plaintiff requests that this Court appoint William B. Whitfield as the receiver in this case. (Id.) Without a receiver, Plaintiff contends it has no other adequate legal remedy because the property may be ...


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