United States District Court, District of Columbia
P. MEHTA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Juliana Gomez-Cruz worked at Cornerstone Café in
Washington, D.C. for 13 years before her termination in
November 2017. She brought this action against the cafe and
its owners, Dae Woong Kim and Kookhee Park (collectively,
“Defendants”), to recover the statutorily
required minimum and overtime wages that she alleges were not
paid during her employment. Defendants were properly served
but failed to respond to Plaintiff's Complaint, after
which Plaintiff obtained an entry of default. Plaintiff then
moved for default judgment, seeking the relief requested in
her Complaint. For the reasons discussed below, the court
grants Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment.
Juliana Gomez-Cruz worked for Defendants Dae Woong Kim and
Kookhee Park at their buffet and carryout restaurant,
Cornerstone Café, from October 2004 through November
2017. See Compl., ECF No. 1 [hereinafter Compl.]
¶¶ 2-7, 10. Defendants served as joint
owner-managers of the café throughout Plaintiff's
employment and were the “ultimate authorities” as
to Plaintiff's supervision, work schedule, and conditions
of employment. Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff's
responsibilities at the café included food
preparation, taking customer orders, washing dishes and
cleaning, and providing customer service. Id. ¶
21. Each week, Plaintiff typically worked Monday through
Friday between 5:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., without taking a break
of more than five minutes. Id. ¶¶ 23-24.
In all, Plaintiff “typically and customarily worked at
or about forty-six and one-half hours per week.” Mot.
for Default J., ECF No. 13 [hereinafter Pl.'s Mot.], Aff.
of Juliana Gomez-Cruz, ECF No. 13-1 [hereinafter Pl.'s
Aff.], ¶ 9.
Plaintiff's employment, Defendants maintained no
timekeeping system, Compl. ¶ 22; nor did they provide
Plaintiff with a paystub or report reflecting the hours she
worked, id. ¶ 27. Defendants also purportedly
withheld a certain portion of Plaintiff's gross pay for
taxes. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff approximates that
she “worked at or about [45 to 48] hours per
week.” See id. ¶¶ 12-13.
labor, Defendants paid Plaintiff a flat weekly salary of $400
from October 2004 through June 2008, $420 from July 2008
through September 2015, and $440 from October 2015 through
the date of her termination in November 2017. Id.
¶¶ 15-17. At no point during her employment did
Defendants discuss an hourly rate or terms of overtime work
and compensation with Plaintiff. Id. ¶¶
18-20. Plaintiff received compensation on a weekly basis by
both cash and check, with no payroll reporting system
reflecting the time she worked or any federal or state
deductions. Id. ¶¶ 25-27.
15, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendants
alleging that they failed to pay her overtime and minimum
wages during various periods of her employment in violation
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29
U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., the D.C. Minimum
Wage Act Revision Act of 1992 (“DCMWA”), D.C.
Code §§ 32-1001 et seq., and the D.C. Wage
Payment and Wage Collection Act (“DCWPA”), D.C.
Code §§ 32-1301 et seq. See
generally Compl. In support of these claims, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants misinformed her about her rights
under federal and District of Columbia law and failed to post
any notice of employee rights within the café. Compl.
August 6, 2018, after receiving no proof of service from
Plaintiff, the court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why
the case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) and Local Civil
Rule 83.23. See Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 3;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c). In response, on August 13, 2018, Plaintiff
filed three affidavits showing that she properly served
Defendants with a copy of the Complaint and a summons on
August 13, 2018. See Affs. of Service, ECF Nos. 4-6.
Despite being served, Defendants did not answer the Complaint
or otherwise appear.
September 18, 2018, the court issued a second Order to Show
Cause, which directed Plaintiff to seek an entry of default
and move for entry of default judgment or risk dismissal of
the case. See Order to Show Cause, ECF No.7.
Plaintiff filed an Affidavit for Default on October 11, 2018,
see Aff. For Default, ECF No. 8, and the Clerk of
the Court entered a default against Defendants, see
Clerk's Entry of Default, ECF No. 10. Plaintiff, however,
failed to move for default judgment as directed and so the
court dismissed the action, without prejudice, for want of
prosecution on November 20, 2018. See Order, ECF No.
subsequently filed a Motion for Reconsideration and for an
Extension of Time to File a Motion for Default Judgment,
see Pl.'s Mot. for Reconsideration, ECF No. 12,
which the court granted on December 3, 2018, see
Minute Order, Dec. 3, 2018. In her Motion for Default
Judgment, Plaintiff seeks entry of judgment against
Defendants in the amount of $16, 272.13 in unpaid wages plus
three times that sum in liquidated damages, for a total award
of $65, 088.52. Pl.'s Mot. at 4-6.