United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge.
Gabriel Cortes Herrera, Neftali G. Martinez, Ubaldo O. Vivar
Martinez, and Juan De Dios Martinez Herrera have brought this
action against defendants Mitch O'Hara LLC and the
owner-operator of that corporation, Tyra Hargis, alleging
that defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29
U.S.C. § 201 et. seq. (“FLSA”), the
D.C. Minimum Wage Act Revision Act, D.C. Code § 32-1001
et. seq. (“DCMWA”), and the D.C. Wage
Payment and Collection Law, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et.
seq. (“DCWPCL”) because they failed to pay
both regular wages for the last two weeks of plaintiffs'
employment and overtime wages for plaintiffs' entire term
of employment. Compl. [Dkt. # 1] ¶¶ 17-18.
defendants failed to respond to the lawsuit, the Clerk of
Court entered a default against each defendant. Clerk's
Entry of Default [Dkt. # 10]; Clerk's Entry of Default
[Dkt. # 11]. Plaintiffs then filed a motion for default
judgment. Mot. for Default J. of Amount Certain [Dkt. # 13]
(“Pls.' Mot.”); Mem. in Supp. of Pl.'s
Mot. [Dkt. # 13-1] (“Pls.' Mem.”). For the
reasons that follow, the motion will be granted and judgment
will be entered against defendants in the amount of $37,
704.00, plus $13, 755.90 in costs and attorneys' fees.
complaint states that Mitch O'Hara LLC is a Washington
D.C. corporation, and that Tyra Hargis owns and operates the
company. Compl. ¶¶ 2-3. Plaintiffs worked for
defendants as concrete finishers and foremen. Id.
¶ 4. Plaintiff Neftali Martinez alleges that he worked
for defendants from February 1, 2016 until April 1, 2016.
Id. ¶ 11. He alleges that he was paid $27 per
hour, even for the hours that he worked in excess of forty
hours per week, and that defendants never paid him for his
final two weeks of work. Id.; see also Aff.
of Neftali G. Martinez, Ex. 1 to Pls.' Mot. [Dkt. # 13-2]
(“Martinez Aff.”) ¶ 5.
Ubaldo Vivar Martinez and Juan de Dios Martinez Herrera
allege that they worked for defendants during the same
two-month time period, from February 1 to April 1, 2016, that
they were both paid $23 per hour, even for the time that they
worked in excess of forty hours per week, and that defendants
never paid either for their last two weeks of work. Compl.
¶¶ 12- 13; Aff. of Ubaldo O. Vivar Martinez, Ex. 3
to Pls.' Mot. [Dkt. # 13-4] (“Vivar Martinez
Aff.”) ¶ 5; Aff. of Juan De Dios Martinez Hererra,
Ex. 2 to Pls.' Mot. [Dkt. # 13-3] (“Martinez
Herrera Aff.”) ¶ 5.
plaintiff Gabriel Cortes Herrera alleges that he worked for
defendants from March 15, 2016 to March 24, 2016, at the
agreed rate of $23 per hour. Compl. ¶ 14. Plaintiff
Cortes Herrera alleges that defendants never paid him for the
ninety-three hours that he worked over his two week term of
employment. Id.; see also Aff. of Gabriel
Cortes Herrera, Ex. 4 to Pls.' Mot. [Dkt. # 13-5]
(“Cortes Herrera Aff.”) ¶ 5.
filed this three-count complaint on August 25, 2016, alleging
that defendants violated the FLSA and DCMWA by failing to pay
them overtime for any hours worked in excess of forty hours
per week, Compl. ¶¶ 21-32 (Counts I and II), and
that defendants violated the DCWPCL by failing to pay them
for all of their hours worked. Id. ¶¶
34-40 (Count III). Defendant Mitch O'Hara LLC was served
on October 11, 2016, Aff. of Service [Dkt. # 3], and
defendant Hargis was served on March 15, 2017. Aff. of
Service [Dkt. # 7]. After neither defendant answered in the
time permitted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12,
plaintiffs sought a clerk's entry of default.
See Mot. for Entry of Default [Dkt. # 8]; Mot. for
Entry of Default [Dkt. # 9]. After the Clerk of Court entered
defendants' default, plaintiffs filed a motion for a
default judgment. Pls.' Mot.
determination of whether default judgment is appropriate is
committed to the discretion of the trial court.”
Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension
Fund v. Auxier Drywall, LLC, 531 F.Supp.2d 56, 57
(D.D.C. 2008), citing Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d
831, 836 (D.C. Cir. 1980). Upon entry of default by the clerk
of the court, the “defaulting defendant is deemed to
admit every well-pleaded allegation in the complaint.”
Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension
Fund v. RW Amrine Drywall Co., 239 F.Supp.2d 26, 30
(D.D.C. 2002) (internal citation omitted). “Although
the default establishes a defendant's liability, the
court is required to make an independent determination of the
sum to be awarded unless the amount of damages is
certain.” Id., citing Adkins v.
Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001). Accordingly,
when moving for a default judgment, the plaintiff must prove
its entitlement to the amount of monetary damages requested.
Id. “In ruling on such a motion, the court may
rely on detailed affidavits or documentary evidence to
determine the appropriate sum for the default
judgment.” Id., citing United Artists
Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979).
Fair Labor Standards Act requires an employer to pay his
employees for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week
“at a rate not less than one and one-half times the
regular rate at which [the employee] is employed.” 29
U.S.C. §§ 207(a)(1)-(2). And the D.C. Minimum Wage
Act requires that an employer must compensate an employee who
works “in excess of 40 hours at a rate not less than
11/2 times the regular rate at which the employee is
employed.” D.C. Code § 32-1003(c).
federal law, “[a]ny employer who violates the
provisions of . . . section 207 of [the FLSA] shall be liable
to the employee or employees affected in the amount of their
. . . unpaid overtime compensation . . . and an additional
equal amount as liquidated damages.” 29 U.S.C. §
216(b). While liability under the FLSA substantially overlaps
with the provisions of the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, the
liquidated damages provided by the D.C. statute are greater
than those provided by the FLSA. Compare 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b) (“additional [amount equal to unpaid
overtime compensation] as liquidated damages”),
with D.C. Code § 32-1308 (“liquidated
damages equal to treble the amount of unpaid
have averred in sworn affidavits that they were not paid the
proper rate for work that they engaged in in excess of forty
hours per week, and that they were not paid for their final
two weeks of work. Where, as here, there is a complete
“absence of any request to set aside the default or
suggestion by the defendant that it has a meritorious
defense, it is ...