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Zuelke v. AA Recovery Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

June 28, 2019

KELLY A. ZUELKE, Plaintiff,
v.
AA RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, INC. and PAYMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES USA, LLC, Defendants.

          Hon. Janet T. Neff U.S. District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MAARTEN VERMAAT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The matter before the undersigned is Plaintiff Kelly A. Zuelke's Motion for Default Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). (ECF No. 9.) After this motion was filed, Defendants AA Recovery Solutions, Inc. and Payment Management Services USA, LLC, filed an appearance and a response. (ECF No. 10.) For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends that the Court enter default judgment in favor of Plaintiff in the amount $6, 144.70, which consists of attorney's fees and costs totaling $4, 144.70, for which Defendants are jointly and severally liable, and statutory damages of $1, 000 per defendant.

         Procedural Posture On March 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed her Complaint alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. (“FDCPA”) and Michigan Occupational Code, Mich. Comp. Laws § 339.901, et seq. (“MOC”). (ECF No. 1.) Defendants were served on April 8, 2019 and their answers were due on April 29, 2019. (ECF Nos. 4, 5.) After Defendants did not file an answer, Plaintiff filed an application for entry of default on April 30, 2019. (ECF No. 6.) On May 1, 2019, the Clerk of Court entered default against Defendants. (ECF No. 7.)

         On May 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment against Defendants, requesting statutory damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(A) and attorney's fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3) and Mich. Comp. Laws § 339.916(2). (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff specifically sought (1) $1, 000 per Defendant in statutory damages; (2) $3, 825.00 in attorney's fees; (3) $602.20 in costs; and (4) judgment interest.

         On the same date, Defendants filed an appearance. Two days later, on May 30, 2019, Defendants filed a response in which they only argued that the requested attorney fee amount was excessive, and that Defendants should not be held jointly and severally liable for the total damages amount. (ECF No. 10.)

         Plaintiff filed a reply in which she asserted that the requested attorney fee amount was reasonable. (ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff also asked that the attorney fee amount be increased by $1, 500 for an additional 4 hours of work spent on the reply brief.

         Analysis

         Plaintiff moves for entry of default judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2), which provides:

(b) Entering a Default Judgment.
(2) By the Court. In all other cases, the party must apply to the court for a default judgment. A default judgment may be entered against a minor or incompetent person only if represented by a general guardian, conservator, or other like fiduciary who has appeared. If the party against whom a default judgment is sought has appeared personally or by a representative, that party or its representative must be served with written notice of the application at least 7 days before the hearing. The court may conduct hearings or make referrals- preserving any federal statutory right to a jury trial-when, to enter or effectuate judgment, it needs to:
(A) conduct an accounting;
(B) determine the amount of damages;
(C) establish the truth of any allegation by ...

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