United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
Introduction and Procedural History
before the Court is the United States' Motion for Default
Judgment (Doc. 7). For the reasons set forth herein, the
Court will grant the United States' motion.
25, 2018, Plaintiff, the United States of America, on behalf
of its Agency, the Rural Housing Service, filed a Complaint
against Charles Geertgens and Shawna Geertgens seeking
mortgage foreclosure of property located at 86 Toad Hollow
Road, Montrose, PA 18801.
Affidavit of Service filed of record demonstrates that
service was effected on Defendants Charles Geertgens and
Shawna Geertgens on September 21, 2018. (Doc. 5). However, no
attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of either
defendant nor has any defendant filed a pleading or performed
any other action to otherwise defend the case. Thus, on
November 6, 2018, the United States filed a Request for Entry
of Default, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), against
Defendants (Doc. 6). The Clerk of Court entered default
against both defendants on November 7, 2018. (Doc. 10).
Simultaneously with the filing of the Request for Entry of
Default, the United States filed a Motion for Default
Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2) (Doc. 7).
Standard of Review
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[w]hen a party
against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has
failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is
shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the
party's default". Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Upon the
party's request, the clerk of court may then enter
default judgment, but only if the claim is for a sum certain
or one that can be made certain by computation, the defendant
has made no appearance, and the defendant is not a minor or
incompetent. Id. at 55(b)(1). In all other cases,
the party seeking a default judgment must make an application
to the court. Id. at 55(b)(2).
the entry of default judgment is "left primarily to the
discretion of the district court", the discretion is not
limitless given that cases should "be disposed of on the
merits whenever practicable." Hritz v. Woma
Corp., 732 F.2d 1178, 1180-1181 (3d Cir. 1984).
"Where a court enters a default judgment, 'the
factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating
to the amount of damages, will be taken as true.'"
DIRECTV, Inc. v. Pepe, 431 F.3d 162, 165 n. 6
(quoting Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142,
1149 (3d Cir. 1990)).
well-pleaded factual allegations of the Complaint, which the
Court takes as true, see DIRECTV, 431 F.3d at 165 n.
6, are set forth below.
about August 3, 2010, the United States of America, acting
through the Under Secretary of Rural Development, on behalf
of the Rural Housing Service, United States Department of
Agriculture, loaned Charles Geertgens and Shawna Geertgens
$84, 300.00 pursuant to the provisions of Title V of the
Housing Act of 1949, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1471,
et seq. (Doc. 1, at ¶ 3).
evidence of the indebtedness, the Defendants executed and
delivered to the United States a Promissory Note dated August
3, 2010 in the amount of $84, 300.00. (Id. at ¶
4). Defendants, for the purpose of securing the Plaintiff
against loss, also executed and acknowledged a Real Estate
Mortgage which granted and conveyed, and mortgaged to
Plaintiff, the real property described in the Mortgage at 86
Toad Hollow Road, Montrose, PA 18801. The Real Estate
Mortgage was recorded on August 4, 2010, with the Office of
the Recorder of Deeds, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, in
Instrument Number 201012577. (/cf. at ¶¶ 5, 7).
is the owner and holder of the Note and Mortgage, neither of
which have been assigned. (Id. at ¶ 6).
United States asserts that the Note and Mortgage are in
default as the Defendants "have failed or refused to
comply with the provisions of the Note and Mortgage, as
follows: (a) failed or refused to pay the installments of
principal and interest when due; (b) failed or refused to pay
real estate taxes when due; and (c) failed to maintain the
security of the Property." (Id. at ¶ 8).
The Complaint therefore states that "[d]ue to the
breaches of the provisions and conditions of the Note and
Mortgage, the Plaintiff elects to ...