United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION ORDER
J. BOYLE JUDGE
the Court is the United States of America's Motion for
Default Judgment. Doc. 9. For the reasons that follow, the
Motion is GRANTED.
United States of America (the Government) originally filed
this lawsuit against Defendant Andrew J. Holland III on April
3, 2017. Doc. 1, Compl. The Government alleges that Defendant
was paid $3510 more than was legally permissible under the
Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefit program and has not
returned the money. Id. ¶¶ 3-5. The
Government claims that Defendant is therefore indebted to the
United States for the principal ($3510), interest/penalty
fees ($695.85), and related administrative cost ($1430.86),
for a total amount due of $5636.71. Id. ¶ 7;
see also Doc. 9-1, Certificate of Indebtedness.
Defendant was served with the summons and complaint on April
13, 2017. Doc. 5, Aff. of Service. Despite having been
served, Defendant neither submitted an answer nor otherwise
made an appearance in this case.
the Government requested an entry of default as to Defendant
on September 5, 2017, Doc. 7, which the Clerk of Court
entered the same day. Doc. 8. That same day, the Government
filed the present Motion for Default Judgment against
Defendant to recover the money and post-judgment interest.
Doc. 9. To date, Defendant has not made an appearance in this
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the Court
to enter a default judgment against a defendant who has
failed to plead or otherwise defend upon motion of the
plaintiff. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a)-(b). That said,
“[d]efault judgments are a drastic remedy, not favored
by the Federal Rules and resorted to by courts only in
extreme situations.” Sun Bank of Ocala v. Pelican
Homestead & Sav. Ass'n, 874 F.2d 274, 276 (5th
Cir. 1989). A party is not entitled to a default judgment
merely because the defendant is technically in default.
Ganther v. Ingle, 75 F.3d 207, 212 (5th Cir. 1996).
“Rather, a default judgment is generally committed to
the discretion of the district court.” United
States v. 1998 Freightliner Vin #: 1FUYCZYB3WP886986,
548 F.Supp.2d 381, 384 (W.D. Tex. 2008).
determining whether a default judgment should be entered
against a defendant, courts have developed a three-part
analysis. Id. First, courts consider whether the
entry of default judgment is procedurally warranted. See
Lindsey v. Prive Corp., 161 F.3d 886, 893 (5th Cir.
1998). The factors relevant to this inquiry include:
 whether material issues of fact exist;  whether there
has been substantial prejudice;  whether the grounds for
default are clearly established;  whether the default was
caused by a good faith mistake or excusable neglect;  the
harshness of a default judgment; and  whether the court
would think itself obliged to set aside the default on the
courts assess the substantive merits of the plaintiff's
claims and determine whether there is a sufficient basis in
the pleadings for the judgment. See Nishimatsu Constr.
Co., Ltd. v. Hous. Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206
(5th Cir. 1975) (noting that “default is not treated as
an absolute confession by the defendant of his liability and
of the plaintiff's right to recover”). In doing so,
courts are to assume that due to its default, the defendant
admits all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's
complaint. Id. But the “defendant is not held
to admit facts that are not-well pleaded or to admit
conclusions of law.” Id.
courts determine what form of relief, if any, the plaintiff
should receive. See 1998 Freightliner Vin #:
1FUYCZYB3WP886986, 548 F.Supp.2d at 384. Normally,
damages are not to be awarded without a hearing or a
demonstration by detailed affidavits establishing the
necessary facts. See United Artists Corp. v.
Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979). But if the
amount of damages can be determined with mathematical
calculation by reference to the pleadings and supporting
documents, a hearing is unnecessary. James v. Frame,
6 F.3d 307, 310 (5th Cir. 1993).
the three-part analysis detailed above, the Court concludes
that the Government is entitled to a default judgment on its
claim for unpaid debts against Defendant. A. Default
Judgment is Procedurally Warranted After reviewing the
Government's Motion in light of the six Lindsey
factors, the Court determines that default judgment is
procedurally warranted. First, Defendant has not filed any
responsive pleadings. Consequently, there are no material
facts in dispute. Lindsey, 161 F.3d at 893;
Nishimatsu Constr., 515 F.2d at 1206 (noting that
“[t]he defendant, by his default, admits the
plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact”).
Second, Defendant's “failure to respond threatens
to bring the adversary process to a halt, effectively
prejudicing Plaintiff's interests.” Ins. Co. of
the W. v. H & G Contractors, Inc., No. C-10-390,
2011 WL 4738197, at *3. Third, given that Defendant has had
over seven months to make an appearance in this case but has
neglected to do so, the grounds for default are clearly
established. Cf. Elite v. The KNR Grp., 216 F.3d
1080 (Table), 2000 WL 729378, at *1 (5th Cir. May 19, 2000)
(per curiam) (holding default judgment to be inappropriate
where defendant sent letter to court explaining his failure
to appear was due to financial privation). Fourth, there is
no evidence before the Court to indicate that Defendant's
silence is the result of a “good faith mistake or
excusable neglect.” Lindsey, 161 F.3d at 893.
Fifth, the ...