United States District Court, District of Columbia
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default Judgment
Maria Sarceno Reyes sued Mr. Kimmoti Kimuell, doing business
as Burrito Brothers, alleging that he failed to pay her
statutorily required overtime wages. After Mr. Kimuell failed
to appear, file an answer, or otherwise respond to the
complaint, the Clerk's office entered a default against
him. Ms. Sarceno Reyes now moves for a default judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) in the
amount of $117, 031.24 in damages, $3647 in attorneys'
fees, and $500.94 in costs. Because Ms. Sarceno Reyes has met
her evidentiary burden, the Court grants Ms. Sarceno
Reyes's motion but reduces the damages award to correct
Sarceno Reyes worked for Mr. Kimuell as a cook and food
preparer from June 15, 2010, through March 29,
2016. Pl.'s Rule 55(b)(2) Mot. Entry Default J.
(Pl.'s Mot.) at 2, ECF No. 14. According to Ms. Sarceno
Reyes, her hourly wage during the applicable period was:
March 16, 2013 to July 4, 2014
July 5, 2014 to July 3, 2015
July 4, 2015 to March 29, 2016
Sarceno Reyes Decl. at ¶ 2, ECF No. 14-1. According to
Ms. Sarceno Reyes, she worked “an average of sixty (60)
and seventy-five (75) hours per week” but was never
paid overtime for hours worked in excess of forty hours each
week. Sarceno Reyes Decl. at ¶ 3. According to Ms.
Sarceno Reyes's counsel, Ms. Sarceno Reyes worked
“approximately 81.25 hours in one week and 78.50 hours
in the next week” from March 16, 2013 to February 27,
2015, and “approximately 66.50 hours in one week and 64
hours in the next week” from February 28, 2015 to March
29, 2017. 2d Lombardo Aff. ¶ 1, ECF No. 15-1. Based upon
these figures, Ms. Sarceno Reyes claims she is owed
“approximately $29, 257.81” in unpaid overtime
wages. Sarceno Reyes Decl. at ¶ 4.
Sarceno Reyes's Complaint sought damages under three
different statutes: the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 201, et seq. (FLSA); the D.C. Wage Payment
and Collection Law, D.C. Code § 32-1301, et
seq. (DCWPCL), and the D.C. Wage Revision Act, D.C. Code
§ 32-1003, et seq. (DCMWRA). Compl. 1, ECF No.
1. Mr. Kimuell did not appear or answer within the first 21
days after being served with the complaint, or thereafter.
See Proof of Service, ECF No. 11; Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(1)(A)(i) (requiring a defendant to “serve an answer
within 21 days of being served with a summons”). The
Clerk of Court therefore entered a default against Mr.
Kimuell. Default, ECF No. 13. Ms. Sarceno Reyes now requests
that this Court enter a default judgment against Mr. Kimuell
in the amount of $29, 257.81 in unpaid wages and treble
damages of $87, 773.43 under the DCWPCL (for a total of $117,
031.24 in damages), as well as $3647 in attorneys' fees
and $500.94 in costs. Pl.'s Mot. at 6, ECF No. 14;
Pl.'s Supp'l Sub., ECF No. 15.
Sarceno Reyes seeks a default judgment based on Mr.
Kimuell's failure to respond. The Court may enter a
default judgment in accordance with Rule 55 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Default judgment is appropriate
when the defendant is an “essentially unresponsive
party” whose default is “plainly willful,
reflected by its failure to respond to the summons or
complaint, the entry of default, or the motion for default
judgment.” Carazani v. Zegarra, 972 F.Supp.2d
1, 12 (D.D.C. 2013) (internal citations omitted). The Court
may enter a default judgment when a defendant “makes no
request to set aside the default” and “gives no
indication of a meritorious defense.” Ventura v.
L.A. Howard Constr. Co., 134 F.Supp.3d 99, 104 (D.D.C.
2015) (quoting Int'l Painters & Allied Trades
Indus. Pension Fund v. Auxier Drywall, LLC, 531
F.Supp.2d 56, 57 (D.D.C. 2008)).
Mr. Kimuell has not responded to the summons, complaint,
entry of default, or motion for default judgment, and
entering a default judgment against him is therefore
appropriate. See Serv. Employees Int'l Union Nat.
Indus. Pension Fund v. Artharee, 942 F.Supp.2d 27, 29-30
(D.D.C. 2013) (“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 clear that the standard for default judgment
has been satisfied.'” (quoting Int'l
Painters & Allied Trades, 531 F.Supp.2d at 57)). The
Court therefore finds that entry of a default judgment is
although “[a] default judgment establishes the
defaulting party's liability for every well-plead
allegation in the complaint, ” it does not
“automatically establish liability in the
amount claimed by the plaintiff.” PT
(Persero) Merpati Nusantara Airlines v. Thirdstone Aircraft
Leasing Grp., Inc., 246 F.R.D. 17, 18 (D.D.C.
2007) (emphasis added) (citing Adkins v. Teseo, 180
F.Supp.2d 15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001) and Shepherd v. Am. Broad.
Cos., 862 F.Supp. 486, 491 (D.D.C. 1994), vacated on
other grounds, 62 F.3d 1469 (D.C. Cir. 1995)); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2). Instead, “the Court
is required to make an independent determination of the
amount of damages to be awarded, unless the amount of damages
is certain.” Serv. Employees Int'l Union,
942 F.Supp.2d at 30 (citing Int'l Painters &
Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. Davanc Contracting,
Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 89, 94 (D.D.C. 2011)). In doing so,
a court need not conduct an evidentiary hearing if it can
establish a basis for the amount of damages through detailed
affidavits or other documentary evidence. Flynn v. Mastro
Masonry Contractors, 237 F.Supp.2d 66, 69 (D.D.C. 2002);
see also Embassy of the Fed. Republic of Nigeria v.
Ugwuonye, 945 F.Supp.2d 81, 85 (D.D.C. 2013). With these
principles in mind, the Court turns to determining the
appropriate measure of damages and concludes that a basis for
the damages can be established without a hearing.