United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
DEFAULT JUDGMENT 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
March 29, 2019, Plaintiff Yazaki North America, Inc.
("Yazaki") filed a motion for default judgment and
involuntary dismissal against Defendants Taizo Kaneko
("Taizo") and Kaneko Consulting Company
("KCC") (collectively "Kaneko
Defendants"). ECF 223. The Kaneko Defendants did not
respond. The Court has reviewed the motion and finds that a
hearing is unnecessary. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f). For the reasons
below, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion for
default judgment and involuntary dismissal.
August 12, 2016, Yazaki filed its complaint against multiple
defendants- including the Kaneko Defendants-for alleged civil
violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act ("Civil RICO"). ECF 1. On
February 7, 2017, Kaneko Defendants filed an amended answer
and counterclaims against Yazaki. ECF 130. On April 19, 2017,
the Court entered a stipulated preliminary injunction
freezing certain assets of Kaneko Defendants and requiring an
accounting. ECF 135.
August 28, 2017, the Court referred the parties to mediation
with a private mediator. ECF 139. The parties mediated on
December 19 and 20, 2017. See ECF 150, PgID 2753. At
the mediation, Yazaki and Kaneko Defendants "made
progress towards a resolution," "exchanged
settlement offers," and advised that further mediation
"would be beneficial." ECF 151, PgID 2759. The
Court granted multiple extensions of time for the parties to
mediate until May 31, 2018. See ECF 153, 168, 170.
on August 8, 2018, Kaneko Defendants filed an emergency
motion to modify the stipulated preliminary injunction. ECF
175. On October 29, 2018, the Court denied the motion without
prejudice. ECF 204.
next day, counsel for Kaneko Defendants ("Counsel")
filed a motion to withdraw. ECF 205. The Court denied the
motion for several reasons: (1) KCC is a corporation and
could proceed only through counsel; (2) Taizo
"demonstrated an unwillingness to litigate in the case
in a timely manner;" and (3) the Court had recently
ordered the parties to meet and confer about the stipulated
preliminary injunction. ECF 209, PgID 3218. The Court
expressed particular concern that, without local counsel,
"Taizo may . . . ignore Court orders and thwart the
effective and just administration of the case."
December 20, 2018, pursuant to the Court's order, Yazaki
notified the Court that it had been unable to meet and confer
with Kaneko Defendants because they had stopped responding to
Counsel. ECF 213, PgID 3245-46.
early January 2019, the Court ordered Kaneko Defendants to
show cause why default should not be entered against them.
ECF 215. The Court noted that Yazaki's belief that
"Kaneko Defendants' unresponsiveness justified a
default against them" was "likely correct."
Id. at 3258. But, out of an abundance of caution,
the Court provided Kaneko Defendants another opportunity to
litigate the case.
Court further required Counsel to certify that they provided
a copy of the order via email to Kaneko Defendants.
Id. at 3259. Counsel certified that they transmitted
the order to Kaneko Defendants, ECF 216, and then responded
to the show cause order on Kaneko Defendants behalf, ECF 217.
The Court then conducted a status conference with the parties
to discuss next steps.
February 20, 2019, the Court granted Counsel a withdrawal
conditioned on Kaneko Defendants filing a notice of
appearance. ECF 219. The Court notified Kaneko Defendants
that it would construe "a failure to respond as a
concession that Kaneko Defendants do not intend to defend the
case." Id. at 3275; see also Id. at
3276. Counsel certified that they served the order on Kaneko
Defendants. ECF 220. But Kaneko Defendants did not act or
file a notice of appearance. On March 18, 2019, two weeks
after the deadline for Kaneko Defendants to file an
appearance, the Court permitted Counsel's complete
withdrawal, recounted Kaneko Defendants' failure to
defend the case, and required Yazaki to show cause why the
case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. ECF
221. Yazaki's motion for default judgment followed.
Court may sanction a party that "fails to obey a
scheduling or other pretrial order." Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(f)(1)(C). Permissible sanctions include "dismissing
the action or proceeding in whole or in part" or
"rendering a default judgment against the disobedient
party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v)-(vi); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f)(1) (referencing the
permissibility of sanctions authorized by Civil Rule 37). The
Civil Rules permit the Court to dismiss claims if "the
plaintiff fails to prosecute or comply with [the Civil Rules]
or a court order." Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). The Court's
inherent powers allow it "to protect the due and orderly
administration of justice and maintain the authority and
dignity of the court" by dismissing a claim as a
sanction against a defendant that ignores court orders.
Bowles v. City of Cleveland, 129 Fed.Appx. 239, 241
(6th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted).
dismissing a claim or rendering default judgment under Rules
16 and 37, Rule 41, or its inherent powers, the Court applies
the same analysis. Id. at 241 (quoting Carter v.
City of Memphis, 636 F.2d 159, 161 (6th Cir. 1980)). The
key of the Court's analysis is "a failure to
prosecute." Id. ...