United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Country Mutual
Insurance Company's motion for default judgment as to
Defendants Medical Weight Loss Centers, LLC, and James A.
Briggs (Doc. No. 51) and motion to approve consent judgment
(Doc. No. 52).
Country Mutual Insurance Company (“Country
Mutual”) brings this lawsuit against Defendants Herbert
W. Vincent (“Vincent”), Aamer S. Massay
(“Massay”), James A. Briggs
(“Briggs”), and Medical Weight Loss Centers, LLC
(“MWLC”) seeking a declaration of this Court that
it is not obligated under its policy to defend or indemnify
its insured, MWLC, Briggs, or Massay in a state court lawsuit
filed by Vincent seeking damages for allegedly false and
misleading statements made by MWLC's agents and
representatives to induce Vincent to pay $19, 000 for stem
Mutual made proper service on Vincent on September 22, 2018
(Doc. No. 6); MLWC on November 28, 2018 (Doc. No. 12); Massay
on April 22, 2019 (Doc. No. 34); and Briggs on May 31, 2019
(Doc. No. 44). Massay and Vincent filed answers (Doc. Nos. 41
and 42), and Massay filed a cross claim for negligence
against Briggs (Doc. No. 43).
August 8, 2019, Country Mutual filed a motion for Clerk's
entry of default judgment as to MWLC and Briggs, and the
Clerk's entry of default judgment was entered on August
30, 2019. (Doc. Nos. 46 and 49). Thereafter, Country Mutual
filed the instant motion for default judgment as to those
Defendants. (Doc. No. 51). Although both motions were served
on MWLC and Briggs, they filed no response. To date, MWLC and
Briggs have failed to plead or otherwise defend against the
second amended complaint for declaratory judgment, as
provided in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, all
allegations contained in Country Mutual's second amended
complaint are deemed admitted. Acuity Ins. Co. v.
Jones, No. 4:11CV2041 AGF, 2013 WL 1192764, at *1 (E.D.
Mo. Mar. 22, 2013).
December 17, 2019, Country Mutual filed a motion for entry of
final judgment, indicating that Vincent and Massay reached an
agreement with Country Mutual to resolve its claims against
them. (Doc. No. 52). As part of that agreement, Country
Mutual, Vincent, and Massay agreed to an entry of judgment
which provides in part that Country Mutual has no duty or
obligation to defend or indemnify MWLC, Massay, or Briggs
under the policy of insurance issued to MWLC in the action
pending in state court. Country Mutual also requests that
default judgment against Briggs and MWLC be made final.
entry of default by the Clerk of Court pursuant to Fed. R. of
Civ. P. 55(a) is a prerequisite to the grant of a default
judgment under Rule 55(b)(2), but whether to grant default
judgment is a separate question within the discretion of the
Court. See Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 871 (8th
Cir.2010) (internal quotation omitted). After default has
been entered, the defendant is deemed to have admitted all
well pleaded factual allegations in the complaint.
Marshall v. Baggett, 616 F.3d 849, 852 (8th
Cir.2010); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6) (stating that any
“allegation other than one relating to the amount of
damages is admitted if a responsive pleading is required and
the allegation is not denied”).
before the Court may enter a default judgment setting forth
the declaration Country Mutual seeks, it must be satisfied,
on the basis of the sufficiency of the second amended
complaint and the substantive merits of Country Mutual's
claim, that “the unchallenged facts constitute a
legitimate cause of action.” See Murray, 595
F.3d at 871 (internal quotation omitted). At that juncture,
“it remains for the [district] court to consider
whether the unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause
of action, since a party in default does not admit mere
conclusions of law.” Id. (quoting 10A C.
Wright, A. Miller & M. Kane, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2688 at 63 (3d ed.1998)). “[A]lthough
the defendant may not be allowed, on appeal, to question the
want of testimony or the insufficiency or amount of the
evidence, he is not precluded from contesting the sufficiency
of the bill, or from insisting that the averments contained
in it do not justify the decree.” Ohio Cent. R. Co.
v. Central Trust Co., 133 U.S. 83, 91 (1890).
consideration of the second amended complaint and the
substantive merits of Country Mutual's request for
declaratory judgment, the Court concludes that Country
Mutual's second amended complaint adequately alleges and
supports the declaratory relief sought. Therefore, the entry
of a default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2) is proper
here. Further, the Court concludes that entry of declaratory
judgment against Vincent and Massay, pursuant to the
agreement reached by parties, is appropriate. However, the
Court notes that the agreement between the parties does not
address the cross claim pending against Briggs, and it will
direct Massay to file a notice with the Court indicating
whether he intends to pursue or voluntarily dismiss his cross
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Country Mutual
Insurance Company's motion for default judgment (Doc. No.
51) is GRANTED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Country Mutual Insurance
Company's motion to approve consent ...