United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND DEFAULT
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Amair, Inc.'s
Motion for, and Memo in Support of, Amended or Additional
Findings Under FRCP 52(b) (“Motion to Amend”).
(Doc # 99.) For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.
Court set forth the factual and procedural background to this
case in its Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. # 97.)
That Order is incorporated by reference, and the facts
explained therein need not be repeated here. The Court
recounts only the facts necessary to address Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend.
case arises out of a contract dispute between the parties. On
June 5, 2013, the parties entered into an agreement
(“Mewa Purchase Agreement” or
“Agreement”) according to which Defendant
promised to sell its claims to various assets (“the
Mewa Assets” or “Assets”) to Plaintiff in
exchange for $270, 000. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff
alleged that Defendant breached the Agreement, and it
initiated this case seeking monetary relief. In addition,
Plaintiff raised several claims that sought to establish
Plaintiff's entitlement to ownership of the Assets
involved in the Agreement. After Defendant ceased to litigate
this case, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment as to Plaintiff's breach of contract
the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion as to its remaining
claims, all of which “depend on Plaintiff's
allegation that Defendant is wrongfully asserting ownership
of the Assets and that Plaintiff is the rightful owner of the
Assets.” (Id. at 13.) Specifically, the Court
determined that “even considering the well-pleaded
facts in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint to be true,
Plaintiff has not established that it is the true owner of
the Assets and that Defendant is wrongfully in possession of
them.” (Id.) Based on this Court's Order
regarding Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment, the
Clerk of the Court entered Final Judgment in this case on
April 17, 2019. (Doc. # 98.)
subsequently filed the instant Motion to Amend in which
Plaintiff raises additional arguments in support its alleged
ownership of the Assets. Plaintiff requests that the Court
amend its judgment regarding Plaintiff's ownership
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(b).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure relates to findings
and conclusions by the court and judgment on partial
findings. Relevant here, Rule 52 provides that “[o]n a
party's motion filed no later than 28 days after the
entry of judgment, the court may amend its findings-or make
additional findings-and may amend the judgment
accordingly.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(b). The Rule is
“applicable to findings made in actions tried without a
jury, ” such as a bench trial. Id. advisory
committee's note to 2007 amendment.
courts have determined that “Rule 52 . . . only
applies in the context of a trial to the
Court.” Smith v. Trapp, No.
14-3220-JAR-JPO, 2018 WL 3145429, at *1 n.3 (D. Kan. June 27,
2018) (emphasis added). However, courts have held that a
limited exception exists in which Rule 52 may be applicable
to default judgments. Specifically, because “a default
judgment generally precludes a trial of the facts except as
to damages . . . Rule 52 is inapplicable except as to
damages.” Adriana Int'l Corp. v. Thoeren,
913 F.2d 1406, 1414 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Olcott v.
Delaware Flood Co., 327 F.3d 1115, 1125 n.11 (10th Cir.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55, on the other hand, establishes a
procedure according to which a default judgment may be set
aside. In particular, Rule 55(c) provides that “[t]he
court may set aside entry of default for good cause, and it
may set aside a final default judgment under Rule
60(b).” Notably, courts have held that “[t]he
exclusive method for attacking a default
judgment in the district court is by way of a Rule 60(b)
motion.” Nat'l Loan Acquisitions Co. v. Pet
Friendly, Inc., 743 Fed.Appx. 390, 391 (11th Cir. 2018)
(emphasis added), cert. denied sub nom. Weinacker v.
Nat'l Loan Acquisitions Co., 139 S.Ct. 1210 (2019).
instant case, Plaintiff has not invoked Rule 52 with regard
to damages, and it has not cited any authority supporting its
assertion that Rule 52 is applicable under the circumstances.
Rather, Plaintiff is effectively attacking the default
judgment, arguing that this Court should change its ruling as
to the merits of Plaintiffs claims, which means that Rule
60(b) is the proper-and exclusive-basis for Plaintiffs
Motion. Therefore, Plaintiff is not entitled to
relief pursuant to Rule 52.
on the foregoing, the Court ORDERS that Plaintiffs Motion
for, and Memo in Support of, Amended or Additional ...