United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment and Affidavits in Support (Doc. 14) filed on
March 7, 2018. No. Response was filed and the time to do so
has expired. The Court finds that an evidentiary hearing is
not required and will render a decision based on the
documents submitted. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion is granted.
an action on a promissory note to recover outstanding
indebtedness on a boat loan. On November 8, 2017, Plaintiff
USAlliance Federal Credit Union filed a one-count Complaint
for breach of a maritime contract. (Doc. 1). Because
Defendant Jeff A. Rawlings failed to respond to the
Complaint, a Clerk's Entry of Default (Doc. 11) was
entered on January 3, 2018. Plaintiff now seeks the entry of
judgment against Rawlings for the principal balance owed at
the time of the default, late fees, interest accrued, and
attorney's fees and costs.
default judgment occurs, a defendant admits the
plaintiff's well-pled allegations of fact. If liability
is well pled, it is established by virtue of a default
judgment. Buchanan v. Bowman, 820 F.2d 359, 361
(11th Cir. 1987). The mere entry of a default by the clerk
does not in itself warrant the entry of default by the Court.
Rather the Court must find that there is sufficient basis in
the pleadings for the judgment to be entered. GMAC
Commercial Mortg. Corp. v. Maitland Hotel Assocs., Ltd.,
218 F.Supp.2d 1355, 1359 (M.D. Fla. 2002) (citation omitted).
A complaint must state a claim in order for default judgment
to be granted. Id.
all facts in the Complaint as admitted, on or about March 10,
2015, Rawlings borrowed $29, 943.00 from USAlliance for the
purchase of the 32' M/V ROBIN'S NEST, Official Number
1102212, HIN: RGMVA334K900. (Doc. 1, ¶ 6). The loan
transaction was memorialized by a Loan and Security Agreement
executed by Rawlings, and is attached to the Complaint.
(Id.; Doc. 6-1). Rawlings has not made a payment on
the loan since July 12, 2017. (Id., ¶ 8). On
October 6, 2017, USAlliance sent Rawlings a written notice of
default and notice of acceleration of the balance due because
of his continuing default. (Id., ¶ 9).
Affidavit of Robert Wesler in Support of Plaintiff's
Motion for Final Default Judgment (Doc. 14-3), states that
the loan documents attached to the Complaint are true and
correct copies. Also provided is the Affidavit of
Non-Military Service (Doc. 14-4) and the Affidavit of Timothy
P. Shusta, Esq., counsel for USAlliance (Doc. 14-5), to
support the request for attorney's fees and costs.
elements of a breach of contract cause of action are: (1) a
valid contract, (2) a material breach, and (3) damages.
Havens v. Coast Florida, P.A., 117 So.3d 1179, 1181
(Fla. 2d DCA 2013). Here, USAlliance alleged that Rawlings
personally guaranteed repayment of the debt, that Rawlings
breached the loan agreement by refusing to pay that debt, and
that Rawlings owes USAlliance damages as a result. Thus, the
Court finds that Plaintiff has adequately pled a breach of
contract, which allegations are deemed admitted, supporting
the entry of a default judgment against Defendant.
the damages, Plaintiff submitted an Affidavit of Robert
Wesler, a Portfolio Manager for USAlliance. (Doc. 14-3,
“Wesler Affidavit”). In the Wesler Affidavit,
USAlliance asserts a claim of $28, 193.83 due at the time of
the Affidavit, excluding the attorney's fees and costs
incurred in seeking enforcement of the loan agreement.
Plaintiff seeks damages in the form of the principal balance
on the loan, unpaid late fees, and accrued interest.
(Id. at ¶¶ 9-11.) Specifically, as of
January 5, 2018, Plaintiff asserts the
following is due and owing:
has failed or refused to pay the amounts due and owing, and
is indebted to Plaintiff in the amount of $28, 193.83 as of
January 5, 2018. Therefore, the Court will grant the
requested pre-judgment interest, and apply the continuing per
diem rate stated in the loan agreement of $8.54 from January
6, 2018, through the date of entry of judgment.