United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
WILSPEC TECHNOLOGIES, INC., an Oklahoma Corporation, Plaintiff,
RUGAO ISEN ELECTRONIC CO., LTD., AKA ISEN CONTROLS, a Chinese Company, and CAI ZHANGLING, an Individual, Defendants.
L. PALK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Default Judgment Against
Defendants and Brief in Support of Plaintiff WILSPEC
Technologies, Inc. (Plaintiff or WILSPEC) [Doc. No. 75].
Defendants have not responded and the time for doing so has
expired. The Clerk has previously entered default against
Defendant Rugao Isen Electronic Co., Ltd., AKA ISEN Controls
(Rugao) [Doc. No. 65] and entered default against Defendant
Cai Zhangling (Zhangling) [Doc. No. 61]. For the reasons set
forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is granted.
December 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint alleging
infringement of fourteen separate copyrigâhted works
(collectively referred to as the Copyrighted Material).
Plaintiff also alleged violations of the Lanham Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1125(a) and violations of the Oklahoma
Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Okla. Stat. tit. 78, § 53
et seq. Defendants, represented by counsel, moved to dismiss
the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction or,
alternatively, failure to state a claim upon which relief may
then filed an Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 31] (as corrected
[Doc. No. 41]) and Defendants again moved to dismiss the
Amended Complaint. The Court denied the motion to dismiss and
found Plaintiff had adequately made a prima facie showing of
personal jurisdiction. See Order [Doc. No. 43]. The
Court also found Plaintiff had sufficiently stated claims for
copyright infringement, Lanham Act violations and violations
of the Oklahoma Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Id.
Defendants' counsel moved to withdraw. Counsel's
initial request was granted as to Defendant Zhangling and
denied as to Defendant Rugao, but the Court subsequently
granted counsel's re-urged motion as to Defendant Rugao.
See Orders [Doc. Nos. 49, 57]. The Court
specifically advised Defendant Rugao that as a business
entity, it could not appear pro se in this matter.
See Order [Doc. No. 57]. The Court further
specifically advised Defendant Rugao that failure to retain
counsel by the established deadline could result in the entry
of a default judgment or other sanction. Id.
date, Defendant Rugao has taken no further action in this
case. Similarly, Defendant Zhangling has taken no action in
this case. Defendants have ignored deadlines set forth in the
Court's Scheduling Order and have failed to respond to
other orders of the Court. Also, Defendants have failed to
respond to motions filed by Plaintiff. Most recently, the
Court directed Defendants to advise the Court whether they
objected to Plaintiff's waiver or withdrawal of its
demand for a jury trial. Defendants did not timely respond
and per the Court's order, the Court deems Defendants to
have consented to the waiver. See Order [Doc. No.
70]. As stated above, Defendants have not responded to
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment currently pending
before the Court.
Default Judgment is an Appropriate Sanction
moves for default judgment pursuant to Rule 55 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 55(a) provides that default
must be entered “[w]hen a party against whom a judgment
for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or
otherwise defend.” Here, Defendants filed motions to
dismiss and participated in early stages of this litigation.
Thus, the Court declines to grant a default judgment under
referenced in the Court's prior orders, however, default
judgment may be entered as a sanction against Defendants for
failure to comply with the Court's orders. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f)(1)(c). Additionally, “courts have
broad inherent power to sanction misconduct and abuse of the
judicial process, which includes the power to enter a default
judgment.” Klein v. Harper, 777 F.3d 1144,
1147 (10th Cir. 2015) (quotations and citations omitted).
judgment is a harsh sanction that should be used only if the
failure to comply with court orders is the result of
willfulness, bad faith, or any fault of the disobedient party
rather than inability to comply.” Id. at
1147-48 (quotations and citation omitted). To determine
whether entry of default judgment is an appropriate sanction,
the court applies the factors identified in Ehrenhaus v.
Reynolds, 965 F.2d 916, 921 (10th Cir. 1992). Those
factors are: (1) the degree of actual prejudice to the
non-offending party, (2) the amount of interference with the
judicial process, (3) the culpability of the disobedient
party, (4) whether the court warned the disobedient party in
advance that default judgment would be a likely sanction for
noncompliance, and (5) the efficacy of lesser sanctions.
See id.; see also Klein-Becker USA, LLC v.
Englert, 711 F.3d 1153, 1159 (10th Cir. 2013) (applying
Ehrenhaus factors in considering whether the
sanction of default judgment was appropriate). The Tenth
Circuit reviews a “district court's decision to
enter default judgment as a sanction for abuse of
discretion.” Harper, 777 F.3d at 1148.
Degree of Actual Prejudice
has been significantly hindered in seeking redress for its
alleged injuries because of Defendants' failure to comply
with the Court's orders or otherwise participate in
ongoing litigation. Thus, Plaintiff has suffered sufficient
prejudice and the first factor weighs in favor of default
Amount of Interference ...