United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion
for Default Judgment [Doc. #12]. The Court has reviewed
the motion, along with relevant authorities, and is now
prepared to rule.
April 3, 2018, Nationwide General Insurance Company commenced
this action by filing its complaint against Michael McCoy. In
its complaint, Nationwide states that it “issued a
homeowner's policy of insurance to Defendant,
specifically Policy No. 6323HO727328 . . . affording coverage
to [Defendant's] property” located in Booneville,
Prentiss County, Mississippi for “an effective period
commencing April 3, 2017 and continuing through April 3,
2018.” [Doc. #1]. In seeking coverage, Defendant
submitted a completed application to Nationwide in which his
response to the question “2. Have you or a member of
your household been convicted of a felony in the past 10
years?” was “No”. The policy issued by
Nationwide to Defendant included various provisions detailing
coverage and a provision dealing with concealment and fraud.
about September 10, 2017, a fire occurred at the
Defendant's residence. Defendant later made a claim
detailing the damage and loss of his home and the contents
lost. Immediately, Nationwide investigated the loss. The
preliminary investigation revealed that Defendant denied
having any felony convictions in the past ten years, as
detailed in the Policy Application and Supplemental
Application. [Doc. #1-B]. However, through a record search,
Nationwide discovered “approximately fifteen (15)
charges against Defendant.” [Doc. #1].
is of the opinion that “the fire was intentionally
set” because “Defendant had insufficient personal
income to me[e]t his financial obligations.”
Id. The home was insured in the following amounts:
Dwelling-$175, 289; Personal Property-$122, 702; Other
Structures-$17, 528; and Loss of Use-$35, 057.
April 4, 2018, a summons was issued as to Defendant. On April
11, 2018, the summons was personally served on Defendant, at
his residence, by Constable Sammy Henderson. A proof of
service was filed with the Court on April 17, 2018.
14, 2018, the Clerk of Court issued its first Notice of
Default and later issued its second notice on July 17, 2018.
[Doc. #4, #5].
August 8, 2018, the Court, on its own motion, dismissed this
cause without prejudice because of Plaintiff's failure to
request an entry of default after two notices had been
issued. On September 11, 2018, the Court granted
Plaintiff's Motion to Reinstate the Case, [Doc.
#8], and instructed the Plaintiff to follow the proper
procedure for deaults. [Doc. #9]. Two days later, on
September 13, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Entry
of Default, [Doc. 10]. The Clerk of Court made an entry
of default on September 20, 2018, [Doc. #11].
September 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed this Motion for
Default Judgment [Doc. #12]. As of the date of this
motion, and this Order, Defendant has not appeared to defend
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit the entry of a
default judgment against a party who “has failed to
plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by
affidavit or otherwise.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). However,
default judgments are “generally disfavored by the law,
” as courts “prefer to reach a judgment on the
merits of the case, and not to terminate litigation by [a]
procedural maneuver.” Shakir v. Fed. Nat'l
Mortg. Ass'n, 2015 WL 4997100, at *2 (N.D. Miss.
Aug. 20, 2015) (citing Sun Bank of Ocala v. Pelican
Homestead and Sav. Ass'n, 874 F.2d 274, 275 (5th
Cir. 1989)). But although the default judgment remedy is
disfavored, that policy is “counterbalanced by
considerations of social goals, justice and
expediency[.]” Rogers v. Hartford Life and Acc.
Ins. Co., 167 F.3d 933, 936 (5th Cir. 1999).
Court has held that in order to properly resolve a motion for
default judgment, the Court should consider three factors:
“(1) whether default judgment is procedurally
warranted; (2) whether the pleadings sufficiently set forth
facts establishing that the movant is entitled to the relief
sought; and (3) what relief, if any, the movant should
receive.” Shakir, 2015 WL 4997100, at *2
(citing U.S. v. Giles, 538 F.Supp.2d 990, 993 (W.D.
Tex. 2008)). Ultimately, the weighing process of whether ...