United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
PAMELA RIZZO-ALDERSON, DEENA BENEHALEY, EVELYN SARNO, NICOLE RICHARDSON, TAMI YOUNG, TAMMY REED and MURPHY BLACK, Plaintiffs,
EIHAB H. TAWFIK M.D., P.A., d/b/a CHRIST MEDICAL CENTER, a Florida Profit Corporation, AND and EIHAB H. TAWFIK, individually, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. LAMMENS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This case is before the undersigned upon referral. Plaintiffs
seek an entry of final judgment against the individual
Defendant, Eihab H. Tawfik, on their Fair Labor Standards Act
(âFLSAâ) claims for unpaid wages and corresponding state law
claims. (Doc. 46). Recently, the District Judge found that
Plaintiffs were entitled to an entry of default as to their
claims against the individual Defendant, Eihab Tawfik, and
ordered that they may move for final judgment as to their
damages. (Doc. 47). For the reasons explained below, I
recommend that Plaintiffs' motion be granted.
October 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the Second Amended
Complaint against Defendants. (Doc. 22). Plaintiffs allege
that individual Defendant Eihab H. Tawfik violated the
minimum wage provisions of the FLSA, as well as minimum wage
provisions under Art. X, § 24 of the Florida
Constitution. (Doc. 46, p. 2). Specifically, Plaintiffs
contend that they were employees of Christ Medical Center
and, due to a mass layoff, were not paid the statutorily
guaranteed minimum wage during their final weeks of
employment by Defendants. (Doc. 22, p. 10). Plaintiffs allege
that the individual defendant, as the owner, chief executive
officer, and a member of senior management of Christ Medical
Center, is an “employer” under the FLSA. (Doc.
22, p. 11). Plaintiffs contend that the amount of damages is
readily ascertainable, that each of the Plaintiffs worked 40
hours per week, and that damages can be determined based upon
the federal and Florida minimum wage in 2017, the 40-hour
work week, and the two weeks of unpaid wages. (Doc. 1, ¶
14). In response to the Court's recent Order (Doc. 48),
Plaintiffs have also provided affidavits detailing their
begin, though Plaintiffs may ultimately be entitled to it
here, a default judgment is not a foregone conclusion when a
defendant fails to defend. Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of
Civil procedure establishes a two-step process for obtaining
a default judgment. “First, when the defendant fails to
plead or otherwise defend the lawsuit, the clerk of the court
is authorized to enter a clerk's default against the
defendant.” Pierre v. Venus Satellite, Inc.,
No. 3:12-CV-343-J-34JBT, 2014 WL 103212 at *3 (M.D. Fla. Jan.
9, 2014). Then, “after receiving a clerk's default,
the court, or in some instances the clerk, may enter a
default judgment against the defendant for not
default judgment, however, cannot stand on a complaint where
the Court lacks jurisdiction or the plaintiff fails to state
a claim. See Pierre, 2014 WL 103212 at *3;
PNCEF, LLC v. Hendricks Bldg. Supply LLC, 740
F.Supp.2d 1287, 1291 (S.D. Ala. 2010). Thus, the Court must
first assess the allegations in the complaint. In doing so, I
note that through default, a defendant does admit
Plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations.
Pierre, 2014 WL 103212 at *3 (quoting Nishimatsu
Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200,
1206 (5th Cir. 1975).
Unpaid Minimum Wage Claims
establish a minimum wage claim, a plaintiff must show that:
1) he was employed during the time period involved; 2) he was
engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce,
or was employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or the
production of goods for commerce; and 3) that the employer
failed to pay the minimum wage required by law. Payne v.
Security & Crime Prevention Serv', Inc., No.
12-22032, 2013 WL 5446466, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2013)
(Seitz, J.) Plaintiffs have established these elements by
their well-pleaded allegations. (Doc. 22, p. 10).
well-pleaded facts in the Complaint are deemed admitted,
allegations relating to the amount of damages are not
admitted by virtue of default; rather, the court must
determine both the amount and character of damages.”
Virgin Records America, Inc. v. Lacey, 510 F.Supp.2d
588, 593 n. 5 (S.D. Ala. 2007). Even in the default judgment
context, “[a] court has an obligation to assure that
there is a legitimate basis for any damage award it
enters.” Anheuser Busch, Inc. v. Philpot, 317
F.3d 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2003); see also Adolph Coors
Co. v. Movement Against Racism and the Klan, 777 F.3d
1538, 1544 (11th Cir. 1985) (explaining that damages may be
awarded on default judgment only if the record adequately
reflects the basis for the award). Under Rule 55(b) the Court
has discretion to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine
appropriate damages, but it is not required to, particularly
where there is sufficient evidence in the record. Tara
Prods., Inc. v. Hollywood Gadgets, Inc., 449 Fed.Appx.
908, 911-12 (11th Cir. 2011); Almeira v. GB House,
LLC, No. 8:14-CV-00045-T-27, 2014 WL 1366808, at *1
(M.D. Fla. Apr. 7, 2014).
are sufficient to establish damages if they are not
conclusory. Almeira, 2014 WL 1366808, at *1; see
Tara Prods., Inc., 449 Fed.Appx. at 912 (quoting
Ellis v. England, 432 F.3d 1321, 1327 (11th Cir.
2005). In the unpaid wages context, “[i]t is an
employee's burden to prove, with definite and certain
evidence, that he performed work for which he was not
properly compensated.” Pierre, 2014 WL 103212
at *9 (quoting Reeves v. Int'l Tel. & Tel.
Corp., 616 F.2d 1342, 1351 (5th Cir. 1980)).
their motion, Plaintiffs assert that “the amount of
damages is readily ascertainable, ” and urge the Court
to accept the calculation provided in their motion. (Doc.
46). In response to the Court's recent Order (Doc. 48),
however, Plaintiffs have also provided affidavits that
provide a basis for the damage awards. Plaintiffs have
provided affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs Tami Young,
Murphy Black, Deena Berenhaley, and Pamela Rizzo-Alderson.
(Doc. 49). Plaintiffs Young, Black and Berenhaley each state
that they worked 80 hours for which they were not paid,
resulting in damages in the amount of $648.00, based on the
relevant minimum wage of $8.10 per hour, plus an equal amount
in liquidated damages, for total damages of $1, 296.00 each.
(Doc. 49). Similarly, Plaintiff Rizzo-Alderson states that
she was not paid for hours that she worked, and is entitled