United States District Court, District of South Carolina, Aiken Division
ORDER FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant Willis Walker, Sr. (“Defendant”), as Personal Representative of the Estate of Ronnie T. Walker. (ECF No. 14.) For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion.
Plaintiff filed this declaratory judgment action on October 10, 2014, seeking a declaration by the court that a certificate of life insurance (the “Certificate”) on the life of Ronnie T. Walker (“Walker”) is void ab initio and of no force and effect. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff further requested that the court declare that Plaintiff had no obligation to pay the death benefit under the Certificate.
A. Jurisdiction and Venue
The court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 based on diversity of citizenship of the parties. Additionally, this action is brought pursuant to the provisions of the Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, as codified in 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201–2202, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 57.
B. Process and Service
The Complaint was served on Defendant Eddie E. Sherlock (“Sherlock”) by delivering a Summons and Complaint to his residence at 6 Edwards Drive in North Augusta, South Carolina and leaving them with Theresa Carroll, his mother. (ECF No. 5.) Process was also served on Defendant by delivering the documents to him personally at 3325 Tate Road in Augusta, Georgia on November 12, 2014. (ECF No. 6.)
C. The Dismissal of Sherlock
The court is informed that after being served with process Sherlock signed a release of any and all claims against F&G. F&G has voluntarily dismissed Sherlock from this action. (ECF No. 8.)
D. Grounds for Entry of Default
Defendant has not timely filed an Answer or other pleading, as reflected in the Affidavit of Default filed on December 9, 2014. (ECF No. 7-1.) The Clerk of Court properly entered default as to Defendant on December 9, 2014. (ECF No. 11.) On January 7, 2015, F&G filed its Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. (ECF No. 14.)
II. Findings of Fact
When a defendant is in default for failure to respond to the complaint, the court should accept the facts pled in the complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b)(6); see also DIRECT TV, Inc. v. Rawlins, 523 F.3d 318, 322 n.2 (4th Cir. 2009). “A defendant in default concedes the factual allegations of the complaint.” See Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001). Having reviewed Plaintiff’s Complaint, Answers to Local Rule 26.01 Interrogatories, Acceptance of Service Forms, Motion for Entry of Default, Motion for Entry of Default Judgment, as well as all supporting and supplemental information provided, the court makes the following factual findings:
1. On June 26, 2006, an application for life insurance was completed seeking a Certificate from Plaintiff providing coverage on Walker’s life. (ECF No. 1 at 2 ¶ 7.) The application was completed in North Augusta, South Carolina. (Id.) The application indicated that the primary beneficiary was Sherlock. It further noted that Sherlock would be paying the premiums on the Certificate, and that Sherlock was the “brother” of Walker. (Id.) The contingent beneficiary was designated in the application as “Estate.” (See id.) Walker did not consent to or authorize this application for insurance on his ...