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Transportation Alliance Bank, Inc. v. Sky Limits Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

May 29, 2019

TRANSPORTATION ALLIANCE BANK, INC. d/b/a TAB BANK, Plaintiff,
v.
SKY LIMITS INC. and ANTWON TRICE, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          GREGORY J. KELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANTS ANTWON TRICE AND SKY LIMITS INC. (Doc. No. 23)
FILED:April 15, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On January 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Complaint for breach of a promissory note, breach of a commercial guaranty, and foreclosure of security interest based on a commercial loan provided to Defendant Sky Limits Inc. (“Sky Limits”) that was guaranteed by Defendant Antwon Trice (“Trice”).[1] Doc. No. 1. Redacted copies of the subject Promissory Note (Doc. No. 9-2), Business Loan Agreement (the “Loan Agreement”) (Doc. No. 9-3), Commercial Security Agreement (the “Security Agreement”) (Doc. No. 9-4), Corporate Resolution to Borrow/Grant Collateral (Doc. No. 9-5), Commercial Guaranty (the “Guaranty”) (Doc. No. 9-6), and a demand letter delivered to Defendants upon default (Doc. No. 9-7) were filed in support of the Complaint. Doc. No. 9.

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants are in default because Sky Limits failed to pay the monthly installments due in connection with the loan beginning with the payment due on July 25, 2018, and every monthly installment due thereafter. Doc. No. 1 at 8. Plaintiff alleges it notified Defendants of the default and that it had exercised its option to accelerate the total debt owed. Doc. No. 1 at 8. Neither Sky Limits nor Trice paid the amounts due as demanded. Doc. No. 1 at 8. In its Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants owe $72, 158.41 in principal, $3, 165.25 in interest, and $266.18 in late fees as of September 18, 2018. Doc. No. 1 at 8.

         Plaintiff alleges: Plaintiff is a Utah corporation, Sky Limits is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Brevard County, Florida, and Trice is a citizen of and resides in Brevard County, Florida. Doc. No. 1 at 1-2. Trice is the President, Treasurer and Director of Sky Limits. Doc. No. 1 at 2.

         On January 25, 2019, Trice was served. Doc. No. 15-1. On February 19, 2019, Sky Limits was served via Trice, who is Sky Limits' registered agent. Doc. No. 16-1. A return of service was filed for each Defendant on February 28, 2019. Doc. Nos. 15 and 16. On March 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for entry of clerk's default against the Defendants. Doc. No. 17. A Clerk's default was entered on March 15, 2019. Doc. Nos. 18 and 19.

         On April 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Entry of Default Judgment Against Defendants Antwon Trice and Sky Limits Inc. (the “Motion”). Doc. No. 23. Plaintiff seeks judgment for the damages alleged in its Complaint. Doc. No. 23 at 4. The current amounts claimed to be due and owing are $72, 158.41 in principal, $13, 118.09 in interest under the loan, and $266.18 in late fees, for a total of $85, 542.68. Doc. No. 23 at 6. Plaintiff provides the affidavit of David Law, a Vice President of Plaintiff, to authenticate the documents and support Plaintiff's underlying claim and damages. Doc. No. 23 at 17-48.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW.

         When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought fails to plead or otherwise defend as provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and that fact is made to appear by affidavit or otherwise, the Clerk enters default. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). The mere entry of a default by the Clerk does not in itself warrant the entry of a default judgment by the Court. Rather, the Court must find that there is a sufficient basis in the pleadings for the judgment to be entered. Nishimatsu Construction v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975).[2]A default judgment has the effect of establishing as fact the plaintiff's well-plead allegations of fact, and bars the defendant from contesting those facts on appeal. Buchanan v. Bowman, 820 F.2d 359, 361 (11th Cir. 1987) (citing Nishimatsu, 515 F.2d at 1206).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 55(b)(2) provides the Court with the authority to enter a default judgment. “As a general rule, the court may enter a default judgment awarding damages without a hearing only if the amount of damages is a liquidated sum, an amount capable of mathematical calculation, or an amount demonstrated by detailed affidavits.” Directv, Inc. v. Huynh, 318 ...


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