United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
TORRIE M. HILL, Plaintiff,
ABILITY RECOVERY SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
DEFAULT JUDGMENT 
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Torrie M. Hill's motion for
default judgment following the Clerk's entry of default
against Defendant Ability Recovery Services, LLC in this
matter. (Dkt. 13.) Plaintiff asserts she is entitled to
default judgment because Defendant has failed to plead or
otherwise defend against this action. The Court held a
hearing on the motion on September 11, 2019. For the reasons
stated below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion.
April 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed her complaint alleging that
Defendant violated several provisions of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the
Michigan Occupational Code (“MOC”). (Dkt. 1.)
More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant acquired
the right to collect an alleged debt she owed and that she
was notified that Defendant was reporting the debt on her
credit with a balance of $880.00. Plaintiff contacted
Defendant and spoke with a representative by the name of
Tracy. Plaintiff agreed to pay half of the amount of the
debt. She further alleges she made the payment of $393.75
over the phone with her debit card, but Tracy stated that the
charge was not completed and accused Plaintiff of using a
“card scam.” Plaintiff alleges that in actuality,
her debit card had been charged twice. After Tracy claimed
that Plaintiff's debit card was not working, Plaintiff
provided her bank account information. Later, however, she
received an email from Defendant showing that her debit card
was charged. Plaintiff called Defendant back and spoke with a
different representative, explaining to her what happened.
Plaintiff also disputed the charges with her bank.
alleges that several weeks later, Tracy called her. During
that call, Tracy threatened to void Plaintiff's payment
and called her a “scam artist.” When Plaintiff
asked to speak to a supervisor, Tracy pretended to be a
supervisor and threatened to report the debt on her credit
report. Plaintiff alleges that to this day, Defendant has
both of Plaintiff's payments and refuses to refund the
second payment. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant did
not send her any correspondences notifying her of her rights
pursuant to the FDCPA, and that Defendant sent her
threatening voice mail messages.
effectuated service on Defendant by serving the summons on an
authorized registered agent of Defendant on May 6, 2019.
(Dkt. 6.) Defendant did not answer or otherwise plead, and
upon request by Plaintiff, the Clerk entered a default on
June 20, 2019. (Dkt. 11.) Plaintiff now seeks statutory
damages pursuant to both the FDCPA and MOC as well as
reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 allows the court to enter a
default judgment against a defendant who has failed to plead
or otherwise defend against an action. Before a plaintiff can
obtain a default judgment under Rule 55(b), the clerk must
first issue an entry of default under Rule 55(a). Once the
clerk enters a default, all of a plaintiff's well-pleaded
allegations, except those relating to damages, are deemed
admitted. See Antoine v. Atlas Turner, Inc., 66 F.3d
105, 110 (6th Cir. 1995).
the amount of damages is uncertain, the plaintiff must apply
to the court for a default judgment. Rule 55(b)(2) sets forth
[t]he 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 evidence; or (D) investigate any other
provision, by its terms, allows but does not require the
district court to conduct an evidentiary hearing.'”
Hett v. Bryant Lafayette and Assocs., LLC, No.
10-12479, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18253, at *4 (E.D. Mich. Feb.
24, 2011) (quoting Vesligaj v. Peterson, 331
Fed.Appx. 351, 354 (6th Cir. 2009) (unpublished)). Thus, the
Court may award damages without an evidentiary hearing as
long as a basis exists for the damages requested. See
Burrell v. Imperial Recovery Partners, LLC, No.
11-11423, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74292, at *3 (E.D. Mich. July
Statutory Damages under the FDCPA
requests statutory damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §
1692k(a)(2). That section entitles a plaintiff to a statutory
award of “such additional damages as the court may
allow, but not exceeding $1, 000.” §
1692k(a)(2)(a). The Court considers the following factors
when determining the amount of the award: “the
frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt
collector, the ...