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Synovus Bank v. Bokke Iv LLC

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

March 10, 2014

SYNOVUS BANK, Plaintiff,
v.
BOKKE IV L.L.C., JAMES ELEY, LAURA KELLY, JOHN KELLY, SR., MARLON NIEMAND, MARK P. KELLY, JOHN G. RECKENBEIL, and SIMON MANNION, Defendants.

ORDER

MARTIN REIDINGER, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Defendants Bokke IV L.L.C. and Simon Mannion [Doc. 167].

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This is a deficiency action to recover on a promissory note executed by the Defendant Bokke IV L.L.C. ("Bokke IV") in favor of the Plaintiff Synovus Bank ("the Bank") related to the purchase of property in the Seven Falls Golf & River Club, a residential development in Henderson County, North Carolina. [Doc. 1]. The promissory note was guaranteed by, among others, Defendant Simon Mannion ("Mannion").

On June 1, 2011, Defendants Bokke IV and Mannion answered the Plaintiff's Complaint. [Doc. 11]. Defendants' pleading included counterclaims against the Bank as well as third-party claims against Synovus Financial Corp. ("Financial Corp."), the developer of Seven Falls, and related entities.

Subsequently, the Bank and Financial Corp. filed numerous motions challenging the counterclaims and third-party claims against them. [Docs. 32, 39, 43]. On August 15, 2012, the Court entered a Memorandum of Decision and Order granting certain motions and denying others. [Doc. 69]. In particular, the Court dismissed all third-party claims against Financial Corp., dismissed all counterclaims against the Bank by Defendant Mannion, and dismissed all counterclaims against the Bank by Bokke IV except for Bokke IV's counterclaim under the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, 15 U.S.C. ยงยง 1701, et seq. ("ILSA").

On March 12, 2013, counsel moved for leave to withdraw from representing Bokke IV and Mannion. [Docs. 84, 85]. The motion with respect to Mannion was allowed on March 19, 2013. [Doc. 90]. The motion with respect to Bokke IV was denied initially [Doc. 89], but later allowed [Doc. 93].

On July 1, 2013, the Bank moved for the entry of an Order striking the answers of Bokke IV, Mannion, and other Defendants. [Doc. 98]. On September 30, 2013, in compliance with the deadlines set forth in the Court's Pretrial Order and Case Management Plan (as amended), the Bank filed a Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to Bokke IV, Mannion, and others. [Doc. 123].

On October 1, 2013, the Court entered an Order addressing various Motions. [Doc. 125]. In that Order, the Court allowed the Bank's Motion to Strike and for Entry of Default as to Bokke IV and Mannion, and struck the Answers of those Defendants. [Id.]. An Entry of Default was made by the Clerk of Court as to Bokke IV and Mannion later that day. [Doc. 126].

On March 5, 2014, the Bank filed the present motion seeking the entry of a default judgment against Defendants Bokke IV and Mannion. [Doc. 167].

This matter is now ripe for determination.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the Clerk may enter a default judgment if the plaintiff's claim is "for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by computation." In all other cases, the plaintiff must apply to the Court for a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). The Court may conduct a hearing to determine the amount of damages, establish the truth of any allegation by evidence, or investigate any other matter necessary to enter or effectuate judgment. Id . The Court may forego holding a formal evidentiary hearing, however, if the record sufficiently supports the amount of damages requested. See Pentech Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Old Dominion Saw Works, Inc., No. 6:09cv00004 , 2009 WL 1872535, at *2 (W.D. Va. June 30, 2009).

In reviewing a motion for default judgment, the Court must take all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint regarding the defaulted defendant's liability as true. Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network , 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001) ("The defendant, by his default, admits the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact, is concluded on those facts by the judgment, and is barred from contesting on appeal the facts thus established.'") (citation omitted). The Court must then consider whether the unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause of action. Id . "Upon default, facts alleged in the complaint are deemed admitted ...


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