United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
D. WOLSON, J.
Samantha Schall seeks a default judgment against her former
employer Ronak Foods. As explained below, the Court will
award her a default judgment on her wrongful termination
claim but not on her claims under the Americans with
has worked “on and off” for Ronak for eight
years. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 11.) On June 14, 2018, Schall began
her most recent term of employment as a General Manager at
Ronak's Pizza Hut restaurant located at 6613 Frankford
Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19135. (Id. ¶ 12.)
January 21, 2019, Schall suffered a serious neck injury at
work and arranged for someone to cover the rest of her shift
while she tended to her injury. (Id. ¶¶
16-17.) The next day, Schall reported back to work and filed
a claim for workers' compensation benefits. (Id.
¶ 18.) She also filed an incident report with her
supervisor, Mary Dietz. (Id.) Later that day,
January 22, 2019, Schall went to Nazareth Hospital for
treatment. (Id. ¶ 23.) The hospital physician
recommended that Schall be on bedrest for 4-6 weeks and then
return to work on light duty for ninety days until her neck
injury healed. (Id. ¶ 24.)
this hospital visit, Schall informed Dietz about the
seriousness of her injury and told Dietz that she needed an
accommodation. (Id. ¶ 25.) She asked for an
accommodation consistent with her doctor's
recommendations-a leave of absence of 4-6 weeks followed by
light duty for ninety days. (Id.) Schall provided
supporting documentation to Dietz upon request. (Id.
¶ 26.) Dietz denied Schall's requested accommodation
and instead told her that she could take one week of medical
leave only. (Id. ¶ 27.) Afraid of being fired,
Schall returned to work one week later, on February 1, 2019.
(Id. ¶ 28.) Ronak terminated her the following
day, without explanation. (Id. ¶ 30.)
April 5, 2019, Schall filed the instant lawsuit, alleging
that Ronak's conduct violates the ADA (Count I) and
constitutes wrongful discharge under Pennsylvania common law
(Count II). (ECF No. 1.) Schall served Ronak with the
Complaint on May 14, 2019, (ECF No. 3), and Ronak's
response was due by June 4, 2019. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(a)(1)(A)(i) (answer due within twenty-one days of
service of summons and complaint). Ronak has not answered the
Complaint or otherwise participated in this litigation. On
June 26, 2019, the Clerk of Court entered default against
Ronak for failure to appear or otherwise defend. Thereafter,
Schall sought a default judgment against Ronak.
16, 2019, Schall filed a memorandum of law in support of her
request for entry of a default judgment against Ronak. (ECF
No. 9.) (As a technical matter, Schall never filed a formal
motion for a default judgment. However, her memorandum seeks
damages on the claims set forth in her Complaint, and the
Court will construe her memorandum as a motion for a default
judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(b), 55(b)(2).) Ronak has
not responded to the motion, which is ripe for disposition.
defendant has failed to plead or otherwise defend in an
action, and the Clerk of Court has entered a default, the
plaintiff may seek a default judgment. In cases where a
plaintiff's claim is not for a sum certain, the plaintiff
must seek a default judgment from the Court. Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2). “[E]ven where a default is entered, the
plaintiff is not automatically entitled to the damages she
originally demanded.” Harris v. Bennett, 746
Fed. App'x 91, 93 (3d Cir. 2018) (citation omitted). Once
a default has been entered, “the factual allegations of
the complaint, except those relating to the amount of
damages, will be taken as true.” Comdyne I, Inc. v.
Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir. 1990) (quotation
omitted). However, “[b]efore granting default judgment,
a district court may consider whether ‘the unchallenged
facts constitute a legitimate cause of action, since a party
in default does not admit mere conclusions of
law.'” J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v.
Ramsey, 757 Fed.Appx. 93, 95 (3d Cir. 2018) (quotation
omitted). Likewise, “the plaintiff must prove that
[she] is entitled to the damages sought.” Polidoro
v. Saluti, 675 Fed. App'x 189, 190 (3d Cir. 2017)
court determines that a plaintiff is entitled to relief,
“[t]hree factors control whether a default judgment
should be granted: (1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default
is denied; (2) whether the defendant appears to have a
litigable defense; and (3) whether defendant's delay is
due to culpable conduct.” Abulkhair v. Office of
Attorney Ethics, 753 Fed. App'x 132, 134 (3d Cir.
2018) (quoting Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d
154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000)).
Schall's Entitlement To A Default Judgment