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Saunders v. Robinson

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 8, 2019

RAYCO SAUNDERS, Plaintiff,
v.
DARRYL ROBINSON, PRESIDENT; Defendant,

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Cynthia Reed Eddy, Chief United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         On January 29, 2019, Plaintiff Rayco Saunders proceeding pro se filed a motion for default judgment (ECF No. 49) against the last remaining defendant in this case, Darryl Robinson. A hearing on the matter was held on April 22, 2019.

         After careful review of Plaintiff's complaint, the testimony presented at the default judgment hearing and the evidence of record, for the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that Plaintiff's motion for default judgment against Defendant be granted and default judgment be entered against Defendant Robinson in the amount of $5, 001.00.

         II. REPORT

         Procedural History and Service of Process

         Plaintiff's complaint was filed on July 20, 2016 and Defendant Robinson was personally served with the complaint on November 14, 2018. (ECF Nos. 1, 42). Defendant Robinson's responsive pleading was due on December 5, 2018; however, he failed to file a responsive pleading or otherwise appear. (ECF No. 42). After Plaintiff submitted his motion for default judgment, Defendant Robinson was mailed a certified copy of the notice of the hearing on April 5, 2019 and failed to appear at the hearing. (ECF No. 52).

         Default Judgment Hearing

         At the default judgment hearing, Plaintiff claimed that in 2014, he entered into a bout contract for a boxing match with GFS Entertainment Group, LLC (“GFS”). Tr. (ECF No. 55) at 2. Defendant Robinson was the president of GFS and promoted the bout that Plaintiff was to compete in. Id. For competing in the bout, Plaintiff was to receive $5, 000 for competing in the boxing match, $350 for travel, medical expenses, three days of per diem pay and reimbursed for two nights hotel stay. Id. Plaintiff admits he was paid travel and hotel expenses, did not testify that he incurred any medical expenses, and did not provide any testimony or specify what the per diem rate was under the contract. Tr. at 20-21. Plaintiff alleges he kept up his obligations under the contract and that the day of the bout, and as he was walking towards the boxing ring with his boxing gloves on, it was announced that the fight would not occur. Tr. at 2-3. After the announcement, the event staff ushered fans out of the arena and Plaintiff was never paid the $5, 000 or any other money he alleges he is owed. Tr. at 3. Plaintiff testified that after the fight was cancelled, a meeting occurred between Plaintiff, the boxing commissioner, and Defendant Robinson, in which the boxing commissioner told Defendant Robinson to pay Plaintiff out of the bond set for the fight. Tr. at 19-20. Plaintiff testified that the commissioner did not cancel the fight. Tr. at 28. Plaintiff testified that Defendant Robinson agreed to pay Plaintiff, but he never received payment from Defendant Robinson. Tr. at 20. Plaintiff testified that no one else stopped the fight but Defendant Robinson. R. at 28. Plaintiff alleges that the bout was cancelled because there was a lack of funds to pay the boxers. Id.

         The remaining claims against Defendant Robinson are (1) a breach of contract claim; and (2) an intentional interference with contractual relations claim. (ECF No. 48).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, after a party asks the court to enter default judgment, the court must conduct a hearing to determine whether it needs to conduct an accounting, determine the amount of damages, establish the truth of any allegation by evidence, or investigate any other matter. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). The factual allegations of a complaint may be taken as true against a defaulting party for purposes of considering entry of default judgment. Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir.1990)). In deciding whether to grant a motion for default judgment, the court should consider whether the defendant has a defense to the action. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir.2000).

         Breach of Contract

         It is respectfully recommended that default judgment not be entered against Defendant Robinson for a breach of contract, because this claim is meritless. Under District of Columbia law, [1] to state a claim for breach of contract, a party must establish: (1) a valid contract between the parties; (2) an obligation or duty arising out of the contract; (3) a breach of that duty; and (4) damages. Bonfire, LLC v. Zacharia, 251 F.Supp.3d 47, 51 (D.D.C. 2017). It is undisputed that Plaintiff entered into the bout contract with GFS and not Defendant Robinson. There is a general rule “that a corporation is regarded as an entity separate and distinct from its shareholders. . . . [T]he acts and obligations of the corporate entity will not be recognized as those of a particular person until the party seeking to disregard the corporate entity has proved by affirmative evidence that there is (1) unity of ownership and interest, and (2) use of the corporate form to perpetrate fraud or wrong.” Vuitch v. Furr, 482 A.2d 811, 815 (D.C. App. 1984). Plaintiff has not alleged in his complaint and has not otherwise provided any evidence showing that Defendant Robinson should be personally responsible for contracts entered into by GFS. GFS is the proper party to any breach of contract action, however, this entity has been dismissed with prejudice after numerous attempts at service of process were futile. (ECF No. 46). Accordingly, it is respectfully recommended that Plaintiff's motion for default judgment as to his breach of contract claim against Defendant Robinson be denied.

         Intentional Interference with ...


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