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Walton v. Pennington

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 14, 2016

DARRIE WALTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ADRIENNE PENNINGTON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on plaintiff Darrie Walton's Motion for Default Judgment Against Defendant. Plaintiff moves that the Court enter judgment in her favor in the amount of $62, 091.00 in damages. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion is denied.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, alleges in her “Petition/Motion to Court for Judicial Review, Award of Punitive and Compensatory Damages” (“Complaint”) that she was a former part-time employee of Aarin's Infants and Child Enrichment Center, I LLC (“Aarin's”). Plaintiff alleges that defendant Adrienne Pennington is Aarins's director, owner, operator, and CEO. In her Complaint plaintiff pleads the following eight counts against defendant Pennington:

Count I Violations of the Equal Pay Act
Count II Unlawful Employment Discrimination in Violation of Title VII and The Missouri Human Rights Act
Count III Retaliation Under Title VII Count IV Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
Count V Violations of Plaintiff's First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights
Count VI Violations of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Division of Regulations and Licensure
Count VII Tortious Interference with Employment Count VIII Plaintiff Demands a Jury Trial

Doc. 1 at 5-17.

         At the time she filed her Complaint, plaintiff also filed a notice of intent to use a process server. Plaintiff, however, did not timely file the return of service. On April 2, 2015, the Court entered an order pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, directing plaintiff to show cause why her case should not be dismissed for failure to effect service. Doc. 4. Plaintiff responded to the show cause order, stating that she “invoked service on defendant Adrienne Pennington on the same day” that she had filed her Complaint. Doc. 5 at 1. Plaintiff further stated that she had “requested the assistance of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office to deliver the petition with the appropriate summons notification documentation, ” and “[t]o the best of [plaintiff's] knowledge and understanding of this process, she has been appropriately served.” Id. Plaintiff attached a copy of the signed and sealed Summons and Proof of Service. Doc. 5, Attach. 1.

         The Summons listed the defendant's name and address as:

Aarins Infants and Child Enrichment Center I 10136 West Florissant St. Louis, MO 63136

Id. at 3. In the Proof of Service, which was signed by “Gina Pope” and “Jim Buckles -Sheriff, ” it is indicated that on October 29, 2014, the Summons was served on an individual identified as “Adrian Pennington, ” who was designated to accept service on behalf of “Aarins Infant and Child Enrichment Center.” Id. at 4. The return of Proof of Service was dated November 3, 2014. Id.

         On April 20, 2015, the Court entered an order directing plaintiff to file a motion for entry of default by the Clerk of Court. Doc. 9. In the order, the Court noted that defendant Adrienne Pennington had not filed an answer or other response to plaintiff's Complaint and the time to do so had passed. Id. Plaintiff timely filed a document entitled “Motion to File for Entry of Default, ” wherein she requested “entry of default by the clerk of the Court under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a)” against the defendant. Doc. 10.

         On May 8, 2015, the Clerk of Court filed a Clerk's Denial of Default, noting that the record reflected that “service was directed to a business entity rather than to the defendant personally” and that there was “a discrepancy between the name of the person identified as having received service and the name of the defendant, thus the defendant was not properly served.” Doc. 12. It was ordered that ...


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