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.

McNeal v. Nightlife Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

June 17, 2019

Sasha McNeal, Plaintiff
v.
Nightlife Solutions, Inc., and Benjamin Fox, an Individual

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          ROBERT N. SCOLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Sasha McNeal (“McNeal”) brings this suit for retaliatory discharge in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). Now before the Court is a Motion for Default Judgment (the “Motion, ” ECF No. 40) filed by McNeal against Defendants Nightlife Solutions, Inc. (“NSI”) and Benjamin Fox (“Fox”). Having considered the Motion, the record in this case, and the applicable law, the Court denies the Motion (ECF No. 40).

         1. Background

         The following factual background is adduced from the Complaint's allegations and the declaration of McNeal (the “Declaration, ” ECF No. 40), submitted as an attachment to the Motion.

         McNeal sues four defendants (the “Defendants”), including NSI and Fox. “Defendants operated a night club under the name Club Climaxxx.” (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 3.) For his part, Fox “was involved in the day-to-day operations of Club Climaxxx and/or supervised employees.” (Id. at ¶ 15.) He was “responsible for determining the amount paid to” McNeal, “determining the hours worked by” McNeal and “specifying the job duties to be performed by” McNeal. (Id.) There are no allegations in the Complaint or Declaration explaining the relevance of NSI to this proceeding.

         McNeal worked for the “Defendants” at Club Climaxxx as a “bartender/server.” (Id. at ¶ 4.) Prior to that position, McNeal worked for a different company by the name of “the Office, ” which she sued for FLSA violations. (Id. at ¶ 19.) The Defendants learned of this lawsuit and McNeal was terminated shortly thereafter. (Id. at ¶ 24.) “Plaintiff's employment was terminated by Defendants in retaliation for that previous lawsuit.” (Id.)

         2. Default Judgment Standard

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 55, a default judgement must be entered “when a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55. A “defendant, by his default, admits the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact.” Eagle Hosp. Physicians, LLC v. SRG Consulting, Inc., 561 F.3d 1298, 1307 (11th Cir. 2009).

         Courts only credit “well-pleaded” allegations in determining entitlement to default judgment. Id. (quoting Mishimatsu Const. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975)[1]). Indeed, “a defendant's default does not in itself warrant the court in entering a default judgment. There must be a sufficient basis in the pleadings for the judgment entered.” Nishimatsu, 515 F.2d at 1206 (“In short, ” a “default is not treated as an absolute confession by the defendant of his liability and of the plaintiff's right to recover.”). And in evaluating whether a “sufficient basis” exists, a “defendant is not held to admit facts that are not well-pleaded or to admit conclusions of law.” Id.; Cotton v. Mass. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 402 F.3d 1267, 1278 (11th Cir. 2005).

         Put differently, pleadings at the default judgment stage are assessed through a standard “akin to that necessary to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.” Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace Found., 789 F.3d 1239, 1245 (11th Cir. 2015) (“Conceptually, then, a motion for default judgment is like a reverse motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.”). Default judgment, thus, is only available where a “plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 566 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         3. The Motion is Denied

         The well-pled allegations do not support default judgment against NSI or Fox. McNeal asserts one claim for retaliation under 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). “A prima facie case of FLSA retaliation requires a demonstration by the plaintiff of the following: ‘(1) she engaged in activity protected under the act; (2) she subsequently suffered adverse action by the employer; and (3) a causal connection existed between the employee's activity and the adverse action.” Wolf v. Coca-Cola, 200 F.3d 1337, 1342-43 (11th Cir. 2000); Freeman v. Key Largo Vol. Fire and Rescue Dep't, Inc., 494 Fed.Appx. 940, 944 (11th Cir. 2012).

         McNeal fails to adequately allege a basis for imposing liability against Fox and NSI. First, there are no allegations-“well-pled” or otherwise-directed towards NSI, meaning McNeal fails to set forth a “sufficient basis” for imposing liability against that entity. Iqbal, 566 U.S. at 678 (plaintiffs must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged”); Nishimatsu, 515 F.2d at 1206.

         Second, the legal conclusions specifically directed towards Fox are not “well pled.” (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 15 (“Defendant BENJAMIN FOX is responsible for the illegal practice challenged in this case.”).) These conclusions are boilerplate and realleged-verbatim-as to co-defendant James Fulford (“Fulford”), which undermines any inference the Court might otherwise draw as to their factual nature.[2] Regardless, McNeal fails ...


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.