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Stavenger v. Jay Ryan Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Minnesota

March 16, 2015

Candi Stavenger, Plaintiff,
v.
Jay Ryan Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sawmill Saloon and Restaurant, Defendant.

Adam W. Hansen, Esq., Nichols Kaster, PLLP, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

Sarah L. Krans, Esq., Bernick Lifson, PA, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

On February 26, 2015, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on James Moehlenbrock’s Motion to Vacate Default Judgment [Docket No. 46]. Plaintiff Candi Stavenger (“Stavenger”) opposes the motion. For the reasons set forth below, James Moehlenbrock’s motion is denied.

II. BACKGROUND

Stavenger filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her former employer on July 25, 2007. Compl. [Docket No. 1]. The Complaint was served on “Jay Ryan Mulabrook[sic] (Managing Partner of Jay Ryan Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Sawmill Saloon and Restaurant).” Aff. Service [Docket No. 7]. At the time the lawsuit was filed, James Moehlenbrock, Jay Ryan Moehlenbrock’s father, was incarcerated. James Moehlenbrock was never named as a defendant nor served in connection with the lawsuit.

The Defendant in the case, Jay Ryan Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sawmill Saloon and Restaurant (the “Sawmill Saloon”), submitted a three-line response to Stavenger’s Complaint: “All allegations by [Stavenger] are false. Respondent is out of town until August 31. Respondent will consult with an attorney upon return.” Minute Order [Docket No. 10] 2.

No appearance was made on behalf of Sawmill Saloon at the October 23, 2007 Initial Pretrial Conference. Later in the day, Sawmill Saloon’s lay representative, Jay Ryan Moehlenbrock, communicated to Magistrate Judge Raymond Erickson that he was conferring with legal counsel and promised to address the pretrial issues with an attorney. Id. 2-3. Judge Erickson therefore rescheduled the Initial Pretrial Conference to November 20, 2007. Id.

On November 20, 2007, Sawmill Saloon was still unprepared to proceed with the Conference. The Pretrial Conference was rescheduled for Monday, December 3, 2007. Am. Pretrial Notice Order [Docket No. 12] 1.

On December 3, 2007, again there was no appearance on behalf of Sawmill Saloon. The next day, Stavenger moved for Entry of Default [Docket No. 16]. On January 23, 2008, this Court heard argument on Stavanger’s motion. Sawmill Saloon did not appear or otherwise contest the motion.

Stavenger’s Motion for Entry of Default was granted on January 23, 2008. Order [Docket No. 22]. On April 3, 2008, Stavenger submitted evidence regarding damages, costs, and attorney’s fees. Stavenger was awarded $70, 912, 20 in principal and damages and $15, 684.18 in costs and disbursements, for a total of $86, 596.38. Mem. Opinion Order [Docket No. 33]. Stavenger has yet to receive any payment from the Sawmill Saloon.

On December 2, 2009, Stavenger moved to Reopen the Case and for Leave to Amend the Complaint to Add a Party [Docket No. 36]. Stavenger sought leave to file an Amended Complaint to add James Moehlenbrock as a defendant. According to Stavenger, new information regarding James Moehlenbrock’s involvement and ownership of Sawmill Saloon was discovered through a separate lawsuit against Sawmill Saloon.[1] Stavenger withdrew her motion before a decision was rendered. Notice Withdrawal of Mot. [Docket No. 42].

In August 2014, Stavenger commenced an action in St. Louis County District Court against James Moehlenbrock. Terry Decl. [Docket No. 50] Ex. F. Stavenger asserts a veil piercing claim against James Moehlenbrock to hold him liable for the $86, 596.38 federal judgment against Sawmill Saloon. James Moehlenbrock now moves ...


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