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Fuzhou Maozen Import & Export Co., Ltd. v. Petedge, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 26, 2018

FUZHOU MAOZEN IMPORT & EXPORT CO., LTD., DALIAN JIN YU METAL PRODUCTS CO. LTD., JIANGSU ZHONGHENG PET ARTICLES JOINT-STOCK CO., LTD., JIANGXI YIHAN IMP & EXP TRADE CO., LTD., and SHANGHAI TOYS IMP. & EXP. CO. LTD., Plaintiffs,
v.
PETEDGE, INC., NORTHEAST RELIABLE SERVICES, INC. d/b/a PETEDGE ADMIN SERVICES, and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants,

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for a default judgment against Defendants. [ECF No. 11]. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On April 25, 2018, Plaintiffs filed this action asserting claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit against Defendants PetEdge, Inc. (“PetEdge”) and Northeast Reliable Services, Inc. d/b/a PetEdge Admin Services (“Northeast Reliable”) (together “Defendants”)[1]. [ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 37-56]. On May 7, 2018, Plaintiffs filed an affidavit of service asserting that Mea Provencher, an individual designated by law to accept service of process on behalf of PetEdge and Northeast Reliable, had been served with process on April 27, 2018 at 100 Cummings Center Suite 307B in Beverly, Massachusetts. [ECF No. 6]. Defendants were required to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint by May 18, 2018, and have failed to appear, plead, or otherwise defend this action. On June 28, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a request for notice of default, and the clerk entered Defendants' default on June 29, 2018. [ECF Nos. 7, 8]. In accordance with the Court's Standing Order [ECF No. 10], Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment on July 30, 2018, [2] and properly supported their motion with affidavits showing the amount due to each Plaintiff and a judgment form. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(1); [ECF Nos. 11- 16, 17-1].

         Plaintiffs request a default judgment holding Defendants liable for their contractually obligated payments for goods ordered by Defendants and shipped by Plaintiffs in the amounts of $362, 597.04 to Fuzhou Maozen; $66, 078.66 to Dalian; $93, 003.52 to Jiangsu Zhongheng; $82, 235.12 to Jiangxi Yihan; and $129, 678.96 to Shanghai Toys, plus post-judgment interest on each amount as determined by 28 U.S.C. § 1961.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Under Rule 55, the entry of default against each Defendant in this action constitutes an admission of liability. Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Esposito, 260 F.Supp.3d 79, 84 (D. Mass. 2017) (quoting Vazquez-Baldonado v. Domenech, 792 F.Supp.2d 218, 221 (D.P.R. 2011)). Defendants are therefore “taken to have conceded the truth of the factual allegations in the This Order concerns only the two defendants served with process pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. [ECF No. 6].

         complaint as establishing the grounds for liability.” Id. (quoting In re The Home Restaurants, Inc., 285 F.3d 111, 114 (1st Cir. 2002)). “On a motion for a default judgment, however, it is appropriate to independently ‘examine a plaintiff's complaint, taking all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, to determine whether it alleges a cause of action.'” Id. (quoting Ramos- Falcon v. Autoridad de Energia Electrica, 301 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 2002)). Accordingly, the following summary of facts is drawn primarily from Plaintiffs' complaint.

         Plaintiffs are various Chinese corporations involved in the business of manufacturing and selling pet accessories. [ECF No. 1 ¶ 12]. Defendants are Massachusetts corporations headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts. Id. ¶ 4, 7. At the time of the filing of this action, PetEdge was in the business of supplying wholesale grooming supplies and discount pet products, and Northeast Reliable was responsible for processing and funding the purchase orders that PetEdge placed with third party manufacturers of pet accessories, including Plaintiffs. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Between October 4, 2016 and November 6, 2017, PetEdge, via Northeast Reliable, sent several purchase orders to Plaintiffs. Id. ¶¶ 20-36. The purchase orders indicated product types, quantities, and agreed upon prices for various pet accessories that PetEdge and Northeast Reliable wanted to purchase. Id. Defendants issued 29 purchase orders to Plaintiff Fuzhou Maozen Import & Export Co. (“Fuzhou Maozen”), 7 purchase orders to Plaintiff Dalian Jin Yu Metal Products Co., Ltd. (“Dalian”), 7 purchase orders to Plaintiff Jiangsu Zhongheng Pet Articles Joint-Stock Co., Ltd. (“Jiangsu Zhongheng”), 7 purchase orders to Plaintiff Jiangxi Yihan Imp & Exp Trade Co., Ltd. (“Jiangxi Yihan”), and 6 orders to Shanghai Toys Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd. (“Shanghai Toys”). Id. Plaintiffs delivered all products identified in the purchase orders to PetEdge, and PetEdge accepted the product deliveries.[3] Id Defendants did not make any payment for the pet accessories that they ordered despite Plaintiffs' full performance of their contractual obligations, and neither PetEdge nor Northeast Reliable has acknowledged Plaintiffs' payment requests. [ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 20-36].

         III. DISCUSSION

         As an initial matter, the Court “has an affirmative duty to assure itself that it has jurisdiction over both the subject matter and the parties” before entering a default judgment. Plasterers' and Cement Masons' Local 40 Pension Fund v. Capital Curbing Corp., No. 09-236, 2010 WL 1424722, at *2 (D.R.I. Mar. 12, 2010), aff d and adopted, 2010 WL 1376293 (D.R.I. Apr. 6, 2010). This Court has diversity jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1332, as “the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000 … and is between citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2). This Court also has personal jurisdiction over Defendants because Defendants are Massachusetts corporations headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts.

         A default judgment may be entered without a hearing under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b) if “a court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties, the allegations in the complaint state a specific, cognizable claim for relief, and the defaulted party had fair notice of its opportunity to object.” In re The Home Restaurants, Inc., 285 F.3d at 114. As the Court has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and Defendants have defaulted in this case, the Court will consider whether the allegations in the complaint state a specific cognizable claim for relief.

         The Complaint alleges claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit against Defendants. [ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 37-56].

         “A breach of contract claim under Massachusetts law requires proof that the parties had a valid agreement, the defendant breached the agreement, and the plaintiff sustained damages” as a result of the defendant's breach. Guarriello v. Family Endowment Partners, LP, No. 14-cv-13351-IT, 2016 WL 7799639, at *12 (D. Mass. Aug. 10, 2016) (citing Michelson v. Dig. Fin. Servs., 167 F.3d 715, 720 (1st Cir. 1999)); see also Pavao v. Camara, No. 12-11028-DJC, 2014 WL 2453090, at *1-2 (D. Mass. May 29, 2014) (explaining that plaintiff made a sufficient showing as to the prima facie case for breach of contract where plaintiff alleged ...


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