Judge John Keenan
Demelza Holding was formed to raise funding for a resort. Assignee Alternative Investment Solutions (AIS) asserted that Next Up, Hager and Wright induced Demelza’s participation in a fraudulent investment scheme. Demelza wired $1 million to an escrow agent who in turn wired the money—less a $10,000 fee—to Next Up. Next Up allegedly disbursed the money to WGC Group under its agreement with Concord Latin America S.A./Dresdner Financial, alleged to be a front that WGC, Lunn, Robles, Curry and Schmidt used to defraud. The court found entry of default judgment appropriate against Next Up, WGC and Lunn. It only partly granted Hager’s motion objecting to entry of default judgment against him, and seeking leave to file a motion to dismiss. The court vacated default against Hager, finding his default not willful. Despite missing response deadlines, Hager appeared at pretrial conferences and prepared documents as to AIS’s claims, evincing intent to defend. Although not persuaded that Hager’s defense was meritorious the court—weighing the three factors for setting aside default "for good cause" as set forth in Peterson v. Syracuse Police Dept.—"reluctantly" deemed entry of default judgment against Hager inappropriate.