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Taboada v. MI Supermercado, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

September 23, 2019

RAMON TABOADA, Plaintiff,
v.
MI SUPERMERCADO, LLC d/b/a Bravo Supermarket, Defendant.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM F. JUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Renewed Motion for Entry of Default Final Judgment with affidavits (Dkts. 19; 19-1; 19-2). After reviewing the pleadings, affidavits, and the entire file, the Court concludes a default final judgment should be entered as to liability, damages, and costs.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brought this action to recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (FLSA) against Defendant MI Supermercado, LLC d/b/a Bravo Supermarket. Dkt. 1. Defendant failed to answer or otherwise defend. A clerk’s default was entered pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. 18. Plaintiff now seeks a final default judgment against Defendant pursuant to Rule 55(b).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         To determine whether the moving party is entitled to a default final judgment under Rule 55, the Court must review the sufficiency of the complaint and its underlying substantive merits. Chudasma v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1370, n.41 (11th Cir. 1997). For purposes of liability, a defaulting defendant admits only the plaintiff’s well-pleaded allegations of fact. Buchanan v. Bowman, 820 F.2d 359, 361 (11th Cir. 1987); Nishimatsu Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat’l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975).[1] If there is a “sufficient basis in the pleadings, ” a default judgment should be entered. Annon Consulting, Inc. v. BioNitrogen Holdings Corp., 650 Fed.Appx. 729, 733 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting Nishimatsu).

         Once the Court has established liability, then it must conduct an inquiry to ascertain the amount and character of damages to be awarded. Whole Space Indus. Ltd. v. Gulfcoast Int’l Prods., Inc., 2009 WL 2151309, at *3 (M.D. Fla. July 13, 2009) (citing Wallace v. Kiwi Group, Inc., 247 F.R.D. 679, 681 (M.D. Fla. 2008)). “[A] judgment by default may not be entered without a hearing [on damages] unless the amount claimed is a liquidated sum or one capable of mathematical calculation.” United Artist Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979) (citations omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1) (“If the plaintiff’s claim is for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by computation [judgment may be entered on an affidavit].”). A hearing may not be necessary if essential evidence is before the Court. SEC v. Smyth, 420 F.3d 1225, 1231 (11th Cir. 2005).

         LIABILITY

         To prevail on a claim for wages, the plaintiff must show that (1) he was employed by the defendant; (2) he was employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce, and (3) the defendant failed to pay him the minimum wage or overtime as required by the FLSA. Moser v. Action Towing Inc of Tampa, No. 8:16-cv-420-T-35JSS, 2017 WL 10276702, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 6, 2017) (citation omitted). Plaintiff worked as a butcher in two different locations from October 2016 through July 2018. Dkts. 1 ¶ 11; 19-1 ¶ 3. MI Supermarket, as a grocery store, meets the definition of an enterprise engaged in commerce with yearly sales of $500, 000 or more. Dkt. 1 ¶¶ 14-16; see 29 U.S.C. §203(s)(1).

         Plaintiff failed to receive overtime wages for one or more weeks from April 2018 through July 2018 when his work there ended. Dkts. 1 ¶ 32; 19-1 ¶ 6; 20. Defendant failed to keep time records, yet deducted an average of five hours per week from the total number of hours worked. Dkts. 1 ¶ 28; 19-1 ¶ 6; 20. The overtime totals $1, 203.75, which resulted from Defendant’s willful withholding of wages. Dkts. 1 ¶¶ 35-39, 40-43, 50-53; 19-1 ¶ 8; 20. Based on the pleadings, affidavits, and exhibits, the Court finds a sufficient basis to enter a default judgment as to liability.

         DAMAGES

         Plaintiff seeks $1, 203.75 for unpaid wages, $1, 203.75 in liquidated damages under the FLSA, and $460.00 in costs. Dkts. 19-1 ¶ 8; 20 (damages); 19-2 (costs). The Court finds the damages are a sum certain which are ascertainable by mathematical calculation. The costs are authorized and recoverable.

         It is therefore ORDER ...


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