United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
OSF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM an Illinois not for profit corporation d/b/a SAINT FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER, Plaintiff,
STAR TRANSPORT, INC. HEALTH CARE PLAN EXACT NAME UNKNOWN and STAR TRANSPORT, INC. n/k/a STAR TRANSPORT AND STAR LEASING, Defendants.
DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff OSF Healthcare System's
(“OSF”) motion for default judgment as to
Defendants, ECF No. 8. For the following reasons, the motion
filed suit on October 23, 2015, ECF No. 1, seeking
reimbursement from Defendants after having provided services
to one of Defendants' insureds. Summonses were issued,
ECF No. 2, and subsequently returned, ECF Nos. 3, 4,
indicating that Defendants had been served on November 12,
2015. From that point, Defendants had until December 3, 2015
to file an answer or other responsive pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(a)(1)(A)(i). Neither did so, and the Court ordered entry
of default on April 21, 2016. Apr. 21, 2016 Text Order. While
a motion for default judgment was filed at the time, ECF No.
5, the case was then stayed because of a bankruptcy petition
filed by one of the defendants. See Jul. 12, 2016
Text Order. The earlier motion for default judgment was
mooted, Feb. 2, 2017 Text Order, and after the stay was
lifted, Nov. 28, 2016 Text Order, OSF renewed its motion for
default judgment, currently before the Court.
party fails to defend or appear, the Clerk must enter a
default. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). If a default judgment is for a
sum certain, or a sum that can be made certain by
computation, the Clerk must then enter a judgment in that
amount. Id. 55(b)(1). Otherwise, the party must move
the Court for entry of judgment. Id. 55(b)(2). While
a district court cannot enter default judgment without
personal jurisdiction over the parties involved, e360
Insight v. The Spamhaus Project, 500 F.3d 594, 598 (7th
Cir. 2007), “[u]pon default, the well-pleaded
allegations of a complaint relating to liability are taken as
true.” Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe &
Concrete Prod., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir.
1983). “[D]efault judgment[s] establish, as a matter
of law, that defendants [are] liable to plaintiff as to each
cause of action alleged in the complaint.” Breuer
Elec. Mfg. Co. v. Toronado Sys. of Am., Inc., 687 F.2d
182, 186 (7th Cir. 1982).
sought judgment against Defendants on two claims, one for
each defendant, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B),
the civil enforcement provision of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), for the
unpaid medical bills of the insured. Compl. 1-13. It sought
$192, 195.78 as to each defendant, plus attorney's fees
and court costs. Id. at 6, 13. As determined by the
Court earlier, Defendants have failed to plead or defend,
Apr. 21, 2016 Text Order, and are in default.
claim for damages is slightly ambiguous. OSF alleges that
Defendant Star Transport Inc. Health Care Plan (“the
plan”) is the health insurance provider for the insured
in this case, and that under the plan documents, the plan
still owes OSF $192, 195.78, as the assigned beneficiary.
Compl. Count I, ¶¶ 1-34. And it alleges that Star
Transport Inc. (“Star”) is the claims
administrator for the plan, Compl. ¶ 15; Compl. Count
II, ¶ 15. OSF also claims that, apparently in the course
of litigating the entire matter, it has incurred $4, 295 in
legal fees, Mot. Default J. 3, and court costs of $492.50,
id. See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1) (permitting
courts to award costs and fees in ERISA actions). Read
literally, OSF's request for entry of judgment asks that
judgment in each of these amounts be entered separately as to
each defendant. Id. However, as explained above, the
$192, 195.78 is the entire amount still owing for the
services OSF rendered the insured, and the affidavits, which
adequately support the claims for court costs and
attorney's fees, suggest that the costs and fees were
accrued with respect to both claims, not each claim.
Therefore, the Court construes OSF's request as being for
judgment in the stated amounts against the plan and Star,
jointly and severally, and will grant such judgment.
See 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a), 1132(f);
Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Bruch, 489 U.S.
101, 110 (1989) (“ERISA explicitly authorizes suits
against fiduciaries and plan administrators to remedy
statutory violations, including breaches of fiduciary duty
and lack of compliance with benefit plans.”);
Larson v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., 723 F.3d 905,
914 (7th Cir. 2013) (“[W]here ‘the plan has never
been unambiguously identified as a distinct entity, . . . the
plaintiff [may] name as defendant whatever entity or
entities, individual or corporate, control the plan.”
(quoting Leister v. Dovetail, Inc., 546 F.3d 875,
879 (7th Cir. 2008)).
also alleged, only against Star, a violation of 29 U.S.C.
§ 1132(c)(1)(B), which provides for a $100 a day fine
against plan administrators who fail to respond to requests
for plan documents within thirty days. Compl. Count II,
¶ 17. It now seeks a $67, 400 judgment against Star for
the days of violation. Mot Default J. 3. CMB's request
for documents to Star was dated August 15, 2014, Mot. Default
J. ¶ 12; the penalty period began to run thirty days
later, on September 14, 2014, when Star did not respond; the
renewed motion for default judgment was filed on December 9,
2016. 817 days elapsed between those dates, entitling CMB to
a judgment of $81, 700 against Star. Its considerably lower
request, for $67, 400, is therefore granted, only as to Star,
the plan administrator.
Plaintiff's motion for default judgment, ECF No. 8, is
GRANTED. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in OSF's
favor against Defendants, jointly and severally, for $192,
195.78 in unpaid medical bills, $4, 295 in legal fees, and
court costs of $492.50. The Clerk is directed to enter
judgment against Defendant Star Transport Inc., n/k/a Star
Transport and Star ...