United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Michael J. Frank United States Magistrate Judge.
matter was referred to the undersigned by the clerk of the
court. Because it is devoid of merit, the undersigned
respectfully recommends that Plaintiff's “Motion
for Judgement by Default” (Doc. 38) be
filed this civil rights case in September 2018, (see
Doc. 1), and this court ordered service of the Defendants. On
February 22, 2019, Owens filed a motion to dismiss, to which
Plaintiff never responded. On May 13, 2019, the undersigned
ordered Owens to amend her motion to dismiss and imposed a
21-day deadline to do so. On June 3, 2019, Defendant filed an
amended motion to dismiss and served Plaintiff at the
Apalachee Correctional Institution. (Doc. 29). Apparently
Plaintiff never received the amended motion to dismiss,
probably because he failed to keep the clerk of the court
apprised of a change in his mailing address. Because he did
not receive the amended motion to dismiss, Plaintiff seeks a
55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[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.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(a). Thus, under this Rule, a “district court may
enter a default judgment when a defendant has failed to plead
or defend.” Estate of Faull by Jacobus v.
McAfee, 727 Fed.Appx. 548, 551 (11th Cir. 2018);
Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace Found., 789 F.3d 1239,
1244 (11th Cir. 2015). Default judgments are generally
disfavored, however, in light of the important policy of
determining cases on their merits. Surtain, 789 F.3d
at 1244-45; Fla. Phy.'s Ins. v. Ehlers, 8 F.3d
780 (11th Cir. 1993); Gulf Coast Fans, Inc. v. Midwest
Elecs. Importers, Inc., 740 F.2d 1499, 1510 (11th Cir.
1984). Entry of a default and a default judgment is warranted
only when the facts and pleadings provide a sufficient basis.
Id. at 1245. Furthermore, “district courts
have broad discretion to determine whether a default judgment
is appropriate in a given case . . . .” Estate of
Faull by Jacobus, 727 Fed.Appx. at 552.
has not shown that he is entitled to entry of a default or a
default judgment. Plaintiff argues that because Owens failed
to file an amended motion to dismiss, she has defaulted. A
review of the record, however, shows that Owens filed an
amended motion to dismiss before the court-imposed
deadline. (Doc. 29). Defendant Owens also certified that she
served Plaintiff at his address of record: Apalachee
Correctional Institute. (id. at 14). Plaintiff may
not have received Owens's amended motion because
Plaintiff's mailing address changed and he failed to
apprise the clerk of the court. (Doc. 40). Regardless, Owens
has not defaulted on any obligation and has complied with the
undersigned's orders. Plaintiff, therefore, is not
entitled to entry of a default, much less a default judgment.
reasons set forth above, the undersigned respectfully
RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's
“Motion for Judgement by Default” (Doc. 38) be
TO THE PARTIES
to these proposed findings and recommendations must be filed
within fourteen (14) days after being served a copy thereof.
Any different deadline that may appear on the electronic
docket is for the court's internal use only, and does not
control. A copy of objections shall be served upon all
other parties. If a party fails to object to the magistrate
judge's findings or recommendations as to any particular
claim or issue contained in a report and recommendation, that
party waives the right to challenge on appeal the district
court's order based on the unobjected-to factual and
legal conclusions. See 11th Cir. Rule 3-1; 28 U.S.C.