Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ross v. Quality Homes of McComb, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

July 26, 2018

EARL ROSS and MAXCINE ROSS PLAINTIFFS
v.
QUALITY HOMES OF MCCOMB, INC., MISS/LOU MOBILE HOME MOVERS, LLC, PLATINUM HOMES, LLC, and JOEY HARBIN DEFENDANTS

          ORDER AND OPINION

          DAVID BRAMLETTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Earl and Maxcine Ross move the Court to enter a default judgment against Miss/Lou Mobile Home Movers, LLC (“Miss/Lou”). For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.[1]

         I. Background

         This dispute arises from Earl and Maxcine Ross's purchase of a mobile home that they describe as “uninhabitable.” The Rosses originally sued five defendants involved in the manufacture, sale, or transportation of the mobile home. See Doc. 1, ¶¶ B-F. Only one defendant -- Miss/Lou -- remains. The Court compelled the Rosses to arbitrate their claims against Quality Homes of McComb, Inc., the home's retail-seller, and Platinum Homes, LLC, the home's manufacturer. See Doc. 40. And the Court dismissed with prejudice the Rosses' claims against Joey Harbin, a Platinum Homes employee, and U.S. Bank, N.A., the bank that financed the Rosses' mobile home purchase. See Doc. 48.

         Miss/Lou was charged with transporting and installing the Rosses' mobile home. See Doc. 1, ¶ C. But how and to what extent it is involved in this dispute is unclear; its name is mentioned just once in the complaint, in the section identifying the parties. See Doc. 1, ¶ C. And Miss/Lou is not the focus of any of the complaint's nine counts.[2] See Doc. 1, Counts I-IX.

         Miss/Lou's registered agent, David Nichols, was served with process on May 8, 2017 at 7907 Huckleberry Lane, Summit, Mississippi 39666. See Doc. 4, p. 2. Despite proper service, Miss/Lou failed to plead or otherwise defend the Rosses' suit. The Clerk of Court thus entered a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) default against Miss/Lou on June 18, 2018. See Doc. 54.

         Pointing to the Clerk of Court's entry of default, the Rosses now ask the Court to enter a default judgment against Miss/Lou. See Doc. 55.

         II. Legal Standard

         After applying for and obtaining an entry of default, the Rosses moved for entry of a default judgment.[3] Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a)-(b). The Rosses are commended for following the proper Rule 55 sequence, but that, by itself, is no guarantee that a default judgment will be entered against Miss/Lou. Nishimatsu Const. Co. v. Houston Nat. Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975) (Wisdom, J.).

         A defendant in default admits only those facts that are well-pleaded -- it does not admit legal conclusions. Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v. Handshoe, 729 F.3d 481, 491 (5th Cir. 2013). And the Fifth Circuit “h[as] adopted a policy in favor of resolving cases on their merits and against the use of default judgments.” In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall Prods. Liability Litig., 742 F.3d 576, 594 (5th Cir. 2014) (citing Rogers v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 167 F.3d 933, 936 (5th Cir. 1999)).

         The Court cannot enter a default judgment against Miss/Lou unless the Rosses' complaint contains well-pleaded allegations that provide the Court with a “sufficient basis” for doing so. Wooten V. McDonald Transit Assocs., Inc., 788 F.3d 490, 498 (5th Cir. 2015). And to provide the Court with a “sufficient basis, ” the Rosses' complaint must allege a plausible claim against Miss/Lou. Handshoe, 729 F.3d at 491 (citing DynaSteel Corp. v. Aztec Indus., Inc., 611 So.2d 977, 988 (Miss. 1992); Lewis v. Lynn, 236 F.3d 766, 767 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (affirming denial of default judgment when allegations of complaint, even if assumed true, failed to allege a claim against the defendant in default).

         The Rosses' complaint must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the Rosses are entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To show that they are entitled to relief, the Rosses must plead a plausible claim: A claim supported by factual allegations that allow the Court to reasonably infer that Miss/Lou is liable for the misconduct alleged. Edionwe v. Bailey, 860 F.3d 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2017) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009))

         III. Default Judgment Against Miss/Lou

         The Rosses' shotgun-style complaint attempts to allege, against all defendants, claims for (1) breach of fiduciary duty, (2) breach of contract, (3) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (4) fraudulent misrepresentation, (5) unconscionability, (6) negligent misrepresentation, (7) violation of federal and state consumer protection statutes, (8) slander, and (9) violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court addresses each in turn.

         A. Breach of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.