United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.
case involves a long-running dispute between three sisters,
Stephanie, Diane and Paula Mantouvalos, over the sale of
inherited property in Greece located at Othos Orfeos 31,
Holargos, Greece (“the property”). The Court
ordered defendant Paula Mantouvalos to show cause why default
judgment should not be entered against her. For the reasons
that follow, Paula has failed to show such cause and,
accordingly, judgment will be entered against her.
Factual and Procedural Background:
sisters inherited the disputed property when their father
died in October, 2005. In June, 2006, the sisters signed a
Settlement Agreement (which was filed in an earlier case in
another session of this Court, “the Settlement
Agreement”) with respect to the property that states:
The property located in Greece shall be sold as soon as
possible and listed with a licensed broker.
January, 2014, Stephanie Mantouvalos (“Stephanie”
or “plaintiff”), whose domicile is Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina, filed a complaint in this Court alleging
breach of contract on the grounds that her sisters had
breached the Settlement Agreement and their covenants of good
faith and fair dealing by refusing to cooperate with the sale
of the property. In November of that year, the property was
valued at approximately Diane Mantouvalos
(“Diane”), whose domicile is Miami, Florida,
never responded to the complaint and in April, 2015 the Court
entered a final default judgment against her. That judgment
includes injunctive relief ordering Diane to, inter
alia, cooperate with her sisters in the sale of the
property and to pay one-third of the costs related to the
sale of the property.
Mantouvalos (“Paula”), whose domicile is
somewhere in Massachusetts, answered the complaint in April,
2014 but since then she has failed to comply with two status
report deadlines. In fact, Paula filed nothing in Court after
responding to the complaint until her counsel moved to
withdraw in May, 2016 based on a “severe breakdown in
the attorney-client relationship” because they were
unable to reach her.
Court convened a status conference in June, 2016 at which
Paula's counsel, Attorney Paul Marino, stated that he had
attempted to locate Paula multiple times and had only been
able to speak to her one week before the hearing. Paula, who
attended the conference by telephone, stated that she had
recently moved and that there was a miscommunication between
her and her attorneys. The Court ordered Paula to show cause,
within 30 days, why she should not be defaulted and ordered
to effectuate the sale of the property.
response to the show cause order, Paula filed what is
entitled “motion for order to show cause.” That
motion is opposed by plaintiff and is the subject of this
memorandum and order.
Order to Show Cause
“has the discretion to order a default judgment”
if it has subject matter and personal jurisdiction, the
complaint states a particular claim and the defendant has
“fair notice of [her] opportunity to object.”
In re The Home Restaurants, Inc., 285 F.3d 111, 114
(1st Cir. 2002). A default judgment is a “useful
remedy” when “a litigant is confronted by an
obstructionist adversary.” AngioDynamics, Inc.
v. Biolitec AG, 780 F.3d 429, 436 (1st
Cir.) (quoting Crispin-Taveras v.
Municipality of Carolina, 647 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir.
2011)), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 535 (2015). Default
judgment is appropriate
[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.
Inc., 966 F.Supp.2d 71, 73 (D. Mass. 2013) (quoting