Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Garcia v. Acosta Tractors, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

September 20, 2017

MARTIN OMAR GARCIA, LORENZO AMADO SALINAS, JATNIEL CASANAS CORENT and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C. 216 B, Plaintiffs,
v.
ACOSTA TRACTORS INC., and FELIX F. ACOSTA, Defendants. EUSEBLO CASANA CORDOVA, and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C. 216 (B), Plaintiffs,
v.
ACOSTA TRACTORS INC., and FELIX F. ACOSTA, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO CONSOLIDATE AND ORDER STAYING CASES PENDING RESOLUTION OF APPEAL

          ANDREA M. SIMONTON, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the Defendants' Motion to Re-Open Case, Lift Stay and Consolidate filed in Garcia v. Acosta Tractors, Inc. Felix F. Acosta and Frank P. Acosta, Case No. 12-21111-CIV-SIMONTON, ECF No. [48]. The Plaintiffs have filed a Response in opposition and the Defendants have filed a Reply, ECF Nos. [51] [53]. Also before this Court is Defendants' Renewed Motion to Re-Open Case, Lift Stay and Consolidate filed in Cordova v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., and Felix F. Acosta, Case No. 13- 22377-CIV-SIMONTON, ECF No. [28]. The Plaintiffs in that case have also filed a response and the Defendants have filed a Reply, ECF Nos. [29] [31].

         In addition, the Plaintiffs in both of the above-captioned cases have filed a Motion for Default, Jury Trial as to Damages, Sanctions, and for Miscellaneous Relief in the respective cases. (See Garcia v. Acosta Tractors, Inc. Felix F. Acosta and Frank P. Acosta, Case No. 12-21111-CIV-SIMONTON, ECF No. [52]; Cordova v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., and Felix F. Acosta, Case No. 13-22377-CIV-SIMONTON, ECF No. [30]). Those Motions have also been fully briefed.[1]

         For the following reasons, the undersigned grants the Defendants' Motions to ReOpen Case, Lift Stay and Consolidate, in part. The case of Garcia v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Felix F. Acosta and Frank P. Acosta, Case No. 12-21111-CIV-SIMONTON (“Garcia”) will be consolidated with the case of Cordova v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., and Felix F. Acosta, Case No. 13-22377-CIV-SIMONTON, (“Cordova”) for all future proceedings. In addition, these matters are stayed until the appeal before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of Julio Hernandez Hernandez v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Felix F. Acosta, Alex Ros, 15-23486-FAM (“Hernandez”) is resolved.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Garcia matter was initiated when Plaintiff Martin Omar Garcia filed a two-count Complaint against Defendants Acosta Tractors Inc., Felix F. Acosta and Frank P. Acosta seeking payment of overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., (“FLSA”), and the payment of wages pursuant to § 22.3 Code of Miami Dade County, ECF No. [1]. In the Second Amended Complaint, filed on September 13, 2012, the Plaintiff, who had previously added Lorenzo Amado Salinas as a Plaintiff in the First Amended Complaint, added Jatniel Casanas Corent as a third Plaintiff, dropped the claim for unpaid wages pursuant to the Miami Dade County Code, and added a claim for retaliation in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 215(A)(3) as to Plaintiffs Garcia and Salinas, ECF No. [29]. After the case was transferred from the Honorable Patricia A. Seitz, United States District Judge, to the undersigned pursuant to the consent of the Parties, the undersigned granted the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings, ECF No. [43]. The case was accordingly closed and the Parties were directed to attend arbitration.

         The Cordova matter was initiated when Plaintiff Euseblo Casanas Cordova filed a one-count Complaint against Defendants Acosta Tractors Inc., and Felix F. Acosta seeking payment of overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., (“FLSA”), ECF No. [1]. On October 18, 2013, following the filing of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings, the Court dismissed this case without prejudice so that the parties could litigate the matter before an arbitration panel, ECF No. [24].

         Nearly three years later, the Defendants in both the Garcia matter and the Cordova matter filed Motions to Re-Open Case, Lift Stay and Consolidate seeking to consolidate those cases with the case of Julio Hernandez Hernandez v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Felix F. Acosta, Alex Ros, 15-23486-CIV-MORENO, (“Hernandez”), a later-filed similar FLSA case pending before the Honorable Federico A. Moreno, United States District Judge. In the Cordova matter, the Motion to Re-Open Case was stricken by Magistrate Judge Goodman for failure to adequately confer, and after conferral, the Defendants filed the pending Renewed Motion to Re-Open Case, Lift Stay and Consolidate, ECF No. [28]. On August 29, 2017, Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman transferred Cordova v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Case No. 13-22377-CIV-GOODMAN to the undersigned, ECF No. [39].

         In both Motions now pending before the undersigned in the Garcia matter and the Cordova matter, the Defendants explain that although they initially moved to compel arbitration, the arbitration process became overly costly thereby prompting the Defendants to request that the Court reopen those cases, lift the respective stays in the cases, and consolidate those two actions along with the case of Julio Hernandez Hernandez v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Felix F. Acosta, Alex Ros, 15-23486-CIV-FAM, ECF No. [28].

         In Response to those Motions, the Plaintiffs argued that instead of the cases being reopened and consolidated with the other similar FLSA cases, a default should be entered against the Defendants as to liability, and the matter should be tried before a jury as to damages only, due to the Defendants' failure to adequately participate in arbitration. In support of that request, Plaintiffs noted that the arbitrator in Garcia issued an Order Terminating Arbitration because the Defendants did not pay the arbitrator's fees in violation of the applicable rules. Thus, Plaintiffs contend that it would be appropriate for all matters to be consolidated with Garcia, the oldest of the three cases for purposes of a jury trial on all three matters, as to damages, only.[2]

         Before Magistrate Judge Goodman ruled on the Defendants' Renewed Motion to Reopen the Cordova action and consolidate it with the other cases, on April 26, 2017, the Honorable Federico A. Moreno granted the Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Default Judgment, Jury Trial as to Damages, Sanctions and for Miscellaneous Relief that had been filed in Julio Hernandez Hernandez v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Felix F. Acosta, Alex Ros, 15-23486-CIV-MORENO, ECF No. [36]. In the Order granting that Motion, the Court stated the following:

The Court compelled arbitration in this case at the Defendant's request. The arbitrator terminated the arbitration proceedings when Defendant ceased paying costs. Defendant claims that the cost unexpectedly escalated because Plaintiff opposed consolidation with the other cases Garcia v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Case No. 12-21111-CIV-SIMONTON and Cordova v. Acosta Tractors, Inc., Case No. 13-22377-GOODMAN.

ECF No. [36] at 1. On June 2, 2017, Judge Moreno entered a Final Default Judgment Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 216(b) as to Defendants Acosta Tractors Inc., Felix F. Acosta and Alex Ros, in the amount of $7, 293.00, ECF No. [42]. The Defendants have now appealed that Final Judgment to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, ECF No. [44].

         II. L ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.