United States District Court, D. Columbia
TOMAS ALCIDES VENTURA, Plaintiff: Mary Craine Lombardo, STEIN
SPERLING BENNETT DE JONG DRISCOLL PC, Rockville, MD.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. COOPER, United States District Judge.
Tomas Alcides Ventura seeks to recover from a construction
company and its owner unpaid overtime compensation for his
work as a concrete installer. Despite having been served by
first-class mail in accordance with the Court's Order
Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Alternative Service,
Defendants L. A. Howard Construction Company (" the
Company" ) and Lazerrick A. Howard have not responded to
the complaint or the Clerk's entry of default. Ventura
now seeks entry of default judgment, monetary damages, and
attorneys' fees. As Ventura has adequately demonstrated
liability on the part of both defendants and established the
amount of damages, the Court will grant Plaintiff's
Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and enter judgment
against the Company and Howard.
Howard Construction Company is a Washington, D.C. corporation
that employed Tomas Alcides Ventura as a concrete installer
from February 1, 2011 through July 30, 2013. Compl. ¶
¶ 4, 17.
Ventura alleges that he worked between forty-eight and fifty
hours per week, but was never compensated at one and one-half
times his regular hourly rate for the time he spent working
over forty hours in a week. Compl. ¶ 19.
Howard Construction Co. and Howard himself are employers as
defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ),
the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Revision Act ("
DCMWRA" ), and the District of Columbia Wage Payment and
Collection Law (" DCWPCL" ). With this
designation comes certain obligations. As Ventura correctly
notes in his complaint, id. at 3, both the federal government
and the District of Columbia require that employers
compensate their employees for overtime at a rate of at least
one and one-half times the employee's regular hourly
rate. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a); D.C. Code § 32-1003(c).
If the Company willfully failed to pay Ventura at least one
and one-half times his regular hourly rate for his overtime,
he is entitled to recover his unpaid compensation as well as
liquidated damages. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b); D.C. Code §
§ 32-1012, 32-1303. Ventura contends that the Company
never paid him his statutorily mandated overtime wage and
that he is owed approximately $19,995.30 as a result. Compl.
¶ 4. He seeks monetary damages in the amount of
$59,985.90 under the DCWPCL's treble damages provision,
or, alternatively, $39,990.60 under the FLSA's liquidated
damages provision, as well as attorneys' fees and
filed suit on November 7, 2014 against L. A. Howard
Construction Co. and its owner, Lazerrick A. Howard, who
controlled the day-to-day operations of the Company. Compl.
¶ 10. The Company and Howard were served on April 14,
2015 by first-class mail, in accordance with the Court's
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Alternative
Service. Aff. Service of Process on L.A. Howard Construction
Co.; Aff. Service of Process on Lazerrick A. Howard. Neither
responded to the complaint. The Clerk of the Court entered
default as to the Company on June 26, 2015, Clerk's Entry
of Default, ECF No. 10, and as to Howard on September 4,
2015, Clerk's Entry of Default, ECF No. 12. Ventura now
moves for entry of default judgment against both the Company
Standard of Review
judgment is a two-step procedure. Lanny J. Davis &
Assocs. LLC v. Republic of Equatorial Guinea, 962
F.Supp.2d 152, 161 (D.D.C. 2013). First, the plaintiff
requests that the Clerk of the Court enter default against a
party who has " failed to plead or otherwise
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Second, the plaintiff must move for entry
of a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). Default judgment
is available when " the adversary process has been
halted because of an essentially unresponsive party."
Boland v. Elite Terrazzo Flooring, Inc., 763
F.Supp.2d 64, 67 (D.D.C. 2011). " Default establishes
the defaulting party's liability for the well-pleaded
allegations of the complaint." Id.
establishing liability, the court must make an independent
evaluation of the damages to be awarded and has "
considerable latitude in determining the amount of
damages." Id. The Court may conduct a hearing
to set the amount of damages. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). The
Court is not required to do so, however, " as long as it
ensure[s] that there [i]s a basis for the damages specified
in the default judgment." Transatlantic Marine
Claims Agency, Inc. v. Ace Shipping Corp.,109 F.3d 105,
111 (2d Cir. 1997). To ensure that there is an adequate basis
to determine damages, a plaintiff must " prove [his]
entitlement" to the relief requested using "
'detailed affidavits or documentary evidence' on
which the court may ...