Nazer v. City of Saint Petersburg et al

Middle District of Florida, flmd-8:2016-cv-02259

ORDER denying {{20}} Motion for Entry of Default. Signed by Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed on 12/8/2016. (JR)

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PageID 80 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION IZZAT NAZER, Plaintiff, v. Case No: 8:16-cv-2259-T-36JSS SAINT PETERSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT and FIVE BUCKS DRINKERY LLC, Defendants. ___________________________________/ ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR CLERK'S DEFAULT THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Clerk's Default. (Dkt. 20.) Plaintiff, pro se, moves for entry of clerk's default against Defendants, St. Petersburg Police Department and Five Bucks Drinkery LLC, for failure to answer or respond to the Complaint. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), "[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." Here, although Defendants failed to timely respond to the Complaint, St. Petersburg Police Department has since filed a responsive pleading, and Five Bucks Drinkery LLC has since appeared. (Dkts. 21, 22, 24.) Generally, "because of the strong policy of determining cases on their merits," defaults are disfavored. Fla. Physician's Ins. Co. v. Ehlers, 8 F.3d 780, 783 (11th Cir. 1993). Additionally, "[m]erely failing to timely file a responsive pleading does not suggest conduct that shows intentional or reckless disregard for judicial proceedings." Bateh v. Colquett D. Trucking, Inc., No. 3:11-CV-926-J-32MCR, 2011 WL 4501385, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 28, 2011). In this case, Defendants appeared shortly after Plaintiff filed the motion for default and have thus demonstrated PageID 81 an intent to defend this action. Additionally, Plaintiff will not be prejudiced by the minimal delay, as this case is still in the early stages of litigation. Thus, the Court finds that a clerk's default is not appropriate in this instance. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Clerk's Default (Dkt. 20) is DENIED. DONE and ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, on December 8, 2016. Copies furnished to: Counsel of Record Unrepresented Party -2-