United States District Court, S.D. Florida
RODOLFO J. VASQUEZ, Plaintiff,
MOVING DUDES LLC, Defendant.
BLOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant Moving
Dudes LLC's Motion to Set Aside Final Default Judgment,
ECF No.  (the “Motion”). The Court has
carefully considered the Motion, Plaintiff's Response,
the relevant authority, and is otherwise duly advised. For
the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted.
March 13, 2019, Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit against
Defendant. See ECF No. . Defendant was served
with the Complaint on March 22, 2019. See ECF No.
. On April 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Application for
Clerk's Entry of Default, however the document's
heading incorrectly named non-parties as Defendants, rather
than Moving Dudes LLC. See ECF No. . On April 23,
2019, Plaintiff filed a second Application for Clerk's
Entry of Default, again incorrectly identifying the Defendant
in the document's heading. See ECF No. . On
April 25, 2019, Plaintiff filed a notice striking the second
Application for Clerk's Entry of Default, ECF No. ,
and filed a Corrected Application for Clerk's Entry of
Default Against Moving Dudes LLC, ECF No. . The Clerk
entered a default against Moving Dudes LLC on April 25, 2019.
ECF No. . On June 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for
Default Judgment against Moving Dudes LLC. ECF No. . The
Court entered Default Judgment against Moving Dudes LLC on
June 6, 2019. ECF No. .
instant Motion requests that the Court vacate the default
judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b)(1). “It is the general rule that default
judgments are ordinarily disfavored because cases should be
decided upon their merits whenever reasonably
possible.” Creative Tile Marketing, Inc. v. SICIS
Intern., 922 F.Supp. 1534, 1536 (S.D. Fla. 1996). To
establish mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect under
Rule 60(b)(1), a defaulting party must show that: “(1)
it had a meritorious defense that might have affected the
outcome; (2) granting the motion would not result in
prejudice to the non-defaulting party; and (3) a good reason
existed for failing to reply to the complaint.”
Florida Physician's Ins. Co. v. Ehlers, 8 F.3d
780, 783 (11th Cir. 1993). “With respect to the third
element, ‘a technical error or slight mistake' by a
party's attorney should not deprive the party of an
opportunity to present the merits of his claim.”
Id. (citing Blois v. Friday, 612 F.2d 938,
940 (5th Cir. 1980)). Here, the Court finds that
Defendant's failure to respond to the Complaint amounts
to mistake or excusable neglect.
Defendant contents that it has a meritorious defense because
Plaintiff seeks reimbursement for fuel surcharges, mileage
and a stipend rather than a minimum wage as required by the
FLSA. The bar for stating a meritorious defense for Rule
60(b)(1) purposes is low: “the “likelihood of
success is not the measure [; i]nstead, it is sufficient
where a Defendant has provided by clear statements a
‘hint of a suggestion' that his case has
merit.” Rodriguez v. Brim's Food, Inc.,
2013 WL 3147348, at *3 (S.D. Fla. June 19, 2013) (citations
omitted); see also Argoitia v. C & J Sons, LLC,
2014 WL 1912011, at *2 (S.D. Fla. May 13, 2014) (“[T]he
proper measure is whether Defendants have provided by
‘clear statements' a ‘hint of a
suggestion' that their defenses have merit.”).
Certainly, Defendant has met the low bar of demonstrating a
the Court cannot conclude that Plaintiff would be prejudiced
by vacatur of the default judgment. Plaintiff contends that
he would be forced to continue waiting for payment for the
work he performed if the Motion were granted. However, under
Rule 60(b), “simple delay is insufficient for
prejudice.” Coniglio v. Bank of Am., NA, 638
Fed.Appx. 972, 975 (11th Cir. 2016). Additionally, here,
Defendant moved to set aside the default judgment just eight
days after it was entered, upon obtaining counsel.
Defendant must demonstrate that a good reason existed for
failing to respond to the complaint. “[F]or purposes of
Rule 60(b), ‘excusable neglect' is understood to
encompass situations in which the failure to comply with a
filing deadline is attributable to negligence.”
Cheney v. Anchor Glass Container Corp., 71 F.3d 848,
850 (11th Cir.1996) (quoting Pioneer Investment Services
Co. v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S.
380, 394 (1993)). Defendant contends that by filing documents
with the Court naming incorrect parties, Plaintiff caused
confusion and led to Defendant's failure to respond to
the Complaint. The Court agrees that Defendant has
demonstrated good reason for its failure to respond.
it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that 1.
Defendant's Motion, ECF No. , is
Final Default Judgment, ECF No. , is
Defendant shall file its Response to Plaintiff s Complaint no
later than July 22, 2019.
Clerk of Court is directed to RE-O ...