United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
MCCOY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of
Default Against Defendant A-Z Discount Beverage of Naples,
Inc. (Doc. 29) filed on May 23, 2018. Additionally before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time (Doc.
30). Plaintiff requests that the Court enter a clerk's
default against Defendant A-Z Discount Beverage of Naples,
Inc. for failure to plead or otherwise defend this action.
(Doc. 29 at 2).
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), “[w]hen a party against whom a
judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead
or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit
or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's
default.” Prior to directing the Clerk of Court to
enter a default, however, the Court must first determine
whether Plaintiff properly effectuated service of process.
Chambers v. Halsted Fin. Servs., LLC,
2:13-cv-809-FTM-38, 2014 WL 3721209, at *1 (M.D. Fla. July
28, 2014). Plaintiff has the burden of establishing effective
service of process. See Zamperla, Inc. v. S.B.F.
S.R.L, No. 6:13-cv-1811-Orl-37KRS, 2014 WL 1400641, at
*1 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 10, 2014).
Civ. P. 4 provides the rules for service. Regarding legal
entities such as corporations, the Rule states that these
entities must be served: (1) in a judicial district of the
(A) in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(e)(1) for serving an
(B) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint
to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other
agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service
of process and - if the agent is one authorized by statute
and the statute so requires - by also mailing a copy of each
to the defendant . . .
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(h). Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e)(1) allows an
individual defendant to be served within “a judicial
district of the United States by . . . following the state
law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of
general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is
located or where service is made.” See also Safeco
Ins. Co. of Ill. v. Mobley, No. 6:12-cv-651-ORL-37DAB,
2012 WL 4932669, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 17, 2012).
Plaintiff purportedly served Defendant A-Z Discount Beverage
of Naples, Inc. on February 10, 2018 by serving Jayantizar
Sanghvi, who is the father and co-resident of Kaushik
Sanghvi-the registered agent of Defendant A-Z Discount
Beverage of Naples, Inc. (Doc. 9 at 1).
evaluating whether Defendant was properly served, the Court
notes that the Florida statute for service on active
corporations allows process to be served on the
corporation's registered agent. Fla. Stat. §
48.081(3)(a). If the address for the registered agent is a
residence, then service on the corporation may be made on the
registered agent under the general service rules. Fla. Stat.
§ 48.081(3)(b). Under the general service rules, service
can be made by
delivering a copy of [process] to the person to be served
with a copy of the complaint, petition, or other initial
pleading or paper or by leaving the copies at his or her
usual place of abode with any person residing therein who is
15 years of age or older and informing the person of their
Fla. Stat. § 48.031(1)(a).
the Return of Service states that process was to be served on
Kaushik Sanghvi - the registered agent of Defendant - at 6654
Middlesex Place, Naples, FL 34104. (Doc. 9 at 1). The Return
of Service expressly states that this address is Kaushik
Sanghvi's residence. (Id.). Because Kaushik
Sanghvi was not present at the residence, process was served
on Jayantizar Sanghvi-Kaushik Sanghvi's father and
co-resident. (Doc. 9). Jayantizar Sanghvi was informed of the
contents of the process. (See id.). Additionally,
Jayantizar Sanghvi appears to be 15 years of age or older.
on the foregoing, the Court finds that Defendant A-Z Discount
Beverage of Naples, Inc. was properly served because process
was served on the co-resident of the registered agent of the
corporation at the registered agent's residence and that
co-resident was 15 years of age or older and informed of the
contents of the process. See Fla. Stat. §§
noted above, a default is appropriate when a party fails to
plead or otherwise defend an action. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 55(a). On this point, the Court notes that several
documents have purportedly been filed on behalf of Defendant
A-Z Discount Beverage of Naples, Inc. For instance, Kaushik
Sanghvi purportedly filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses
to Complaint (Doc. 11) and a Motion for Enlargement of Time
to Respond to the Complaint (Doc. 23) on behalf of Defendant
A-Z Discount Beverage of Naples, Inc. Additionally, an