United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. KLINDT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause is before the Court on Plaintiff's Amended Motion
for Entry of Default Final Judgment (Doc. No. 11;
“Amended Motion”), filed April 19, 2018, and
Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum to Motion for Default
Judgment (Doc. No. 10; “Memorandum”), filed April
19, 2018. Plaintiff initiated this action by filing
a Complaint (Doc. No. 1; “Complaint”) on December
26, 2017. Defendant was served with process on January 26,
2018. See Return of Service (Doc. No. 4), filed
February 12, 2018, at 2. On March 5, 2018, Plaintiff moved
for entry of default because Defendant failed to timely
respond to the Complaint or otherwise appear in this case.
See Application and Declaration for Entry of
Defendant's Default (Doc. No. 5; “Application for
Entry of Default”). The Clerk of the Court entered default
against Defendant on March 6, 2018. See Clerk's
Entry of Default (Doc. No. 6). Thereafter, Plaintiff's
Motion for Entry of Default Final Judgment (Doc. No. 7) was
filed on March 15, 2018. On April 3, 2018, the Court entered
an Order (Doc. No. 8) directing Plaintiff to file, no later
than April 10, 2018, a supplemental memorandum clarifying
whether it seeks interest at the rate of 3.38% from November
13, 2017 to the date of default judgment. The Court also
directed Defendant to file a response to the Motion no later
than May 2, 2018, failing which the Court would treat the
Motion as unopposed.
failed to file a supplemental memorandum by April 10, 2018.
Consequently, the Court entered an Order (Doc. No. 9) on
April 13, 2018 directing Plaintiff to file the supplemental
memorandum no later than April 20, 2018 and Defendant to file
a response to the Motion by May 14, 2018. As noted,
Plaintiff filed the Amended Motion and the Memorandum and on
April 19, 2018. In the Memorandum, Plaintiff states it is
seeking “interest accrued at the rate of 3.375% through
November 13, 2017 to the date of judgment.” Memorandum
at 2. To date, Defendant has not filed a response to the
Amended Motion or otherwise appeared in this matter. The
Amended Motion, therefore, is deemed unopposed.
provides the requirements for entry of a default judgment.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). A default judgment may be
entered “against a defendant who never appears or
answers a complaint, for in such circumstances, the case
never has been placed at issue.” Solaroll Shade
& Shutter Corp. v. Bio-Energy Sys., 803 F.2d 1130,
1134 (11th Cir. 1986). All well-pleaded allegations of fact
are deemed admitted upon entry of default; however, before
entering a default judgment, a court must confirm that it has
jurisdiction over the claims and that the complaint
adequately states a claim for which relief may be granted.
See Nishimatsu Const. Co. v. Houston Nat. Bank, 515
F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975); see also GMAC Commercial
Mortg. Corp. v. Maitland Hotel Assocs., 218 F.Supp.2d
1355, 1359 (M.D. Fla. 2002) (stating that “[a] default
judgment cannot stand on a complaint that fails to state a
claim”) (citations omitted).
initiated the instant suit to reduce Defendant's
defaulted student loan debt to judgment. See
Complaint. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over
this case because it is a civil action commenced by the
United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1345 (providing
district courts with “original jurisdiction of all
civil actions, suits or proceedings commenced by the United
States”). The Court must now ensure that Plaintiff
has stated a valid cause of action.
Court to enter judgment “in favor of the United States,
[the United States] must prove that (1) Defendant executed
the note[s]; (2) [the] United States is the present holder of
the note[s]; and (3) the note[s are] in default.”
United States v. Hickey, No. 6:11-cv-1608-Orl-28KRS,
2012 WL 933229, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 27, 2012) (internal
quotations and citation omitted) (unpublished report and
recommendation), adopted, 2012 WL 933206 (Mar. 20,
2012) (unpublished); see United States v. Carter,
506 Fed.Appx. 853, 858 (11th Cir. 2013) (unpublished Table
decision) (citing United States v. Lawrence, 276
F.3d 193, 197 (5th Cir. 2001)).
to the Complaint is a Certificate of Indebtedness from the
U.S. Department of Education (Doc. No. 1-1). Rule 10(c)
provides that “[a] copy of any written instrument which
is an exhibit to a pleading is part thereof for all
purposes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). The Certificate of
Indebtedness, therefore, is considered to be part of the
Complaint. In the Memorandum, Plaintiff represents it
received a corrected Certificate of Indebtedness from the
U.S. Department of Education on April 17, 2018. Memorandum at
2. The corrected Certificate of Indebtedness is attached to
the Memorandum and the Amended Motion. See
Certificate of Indebtedness (Doc. Nos. 10-1, 11-2;
“Corrected Certificate of Indebtedness”). The
Corrected Certificate of Indebtedness adjusts the principal
being sought from $22, 110.24 to $9, 517.30; the interest
from $10, 129.26 to $4, 408.56; and the rate at which
interest accrues from 3.38% to 3.375%. Compare
Certificate of Indebtedness with Corrected
Certificate of Indebtedness.
Corrected Certificate of Indebtedness reflects that on about
June 24, 2004, Defendant executed a promissory note.
See Corrected Certificate of Indebtedness. It also
indicates the United States now holds the note and Defendant
is in default on the note. See id. The Corrected
Certificate of Indebtedness reflects that as of April 20,
2018, Defendant owes Plaintiff $9, 517.30 in principal and
$4, 408.56 in interest. Id. Interest accrues at a
rate of 3.375% or $0.88 per day. Id.
represents in the Complaint that “[d]emand has been
made upon . . . [D]efendant for payment of the indebtedness,
and . . . [D]efendant has neglected and refused to pay the
same.” Complaint at 2. In addition to the relief
outlined above, Plaintiff seeks interest at the rate of
3.375% from April 20, 2018 to the date of final judgment.
Memorandum at 2. Finally, Plaintiff requests “costs
in this proceeding” and $45.00 as “statutory
cost[s] for the litigation of this action” for
“fee for process service per 28 U.S.C. §
1921.” Amended Motion at 2 (capitalization
omitted). Pursuant to Rule 54(d), “costs
should be allowed to the prevailing party” unless there
is a court order, United States statute, or Rule to the
contrary. The recovery of costs is subject to the Court's
broad discretion, see Manor Healthcare Corp. v.
Lomelo, 929 F.2d 633, 639 (11th Cir.1991), and is
limited to those costs expressly provided for by statute,
Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S.
437, 445 (1987). The service of process fee is a taxable
cost. See U.S. E.E.O.C. v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d
600, 624 (11th Cir. 2000) (holding “that private
process server fees may be taxed pursuant to [28 U.S.C.]
§§ 1920(1) and 1921”). The $45.00 service of
process fee appears reasonable and appropriately sought, so
it should be awarded.
failing to answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint,
Defendant is deemed to have admitted that she signed the
promissory note, that the United States is the present holder
of the note, and that the note is in default. Accordingly,
the undersigned finds that Plaintiff has properly stated a
valid cause of action, and Plaintiff is entitled to entry of
court determines that a plaintiff is entitled to default
judgment, the court must determine whether a hearing is
necessary to decide the amount of damages. “[A]
judgment by default may not be entered without a hearing [on
damages] unless the amount claimed is a liquidated sum or one
capable of mathematical calculation.” United
Artists Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir.
1979); see also SEC v. Smyth, 420 F.3d 1225, 1231
(11th Cir. 2005). When the essential evidence regarding
damages is before a court, a hearing on damages may be
unnecessary. See Smyth, 420 F.3d at 1232 n.13.
the undersigned finds that a hearing is unnecessary because
the essential evidence relating to damages is before the
Court. See id. As noted above, the sworn Corrected
Certificate of Indebtedness establishes that as of April 20,
2018, Defendant owes Plaintiff a total of $13, 925.86.
Plaintiff is entitled to prejudgment interest accruing on the
total principal amount at the rate set forth in the Corrected
Certificate of Indebtedness. Plaintiff is ...