United States District Court, District of Columbia
FERNANDO M. IZAGUIRRE, on behalf of himself and other similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HUNTER ALLIED OF MARYLAND, INC., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. FRIEDRICH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case was filed by the plaintiff, Mr. Fernando M. Izaguirre,
against the defendants, Hunter Allied of Maryland, Inc. and
Mr. Bradford Q. Ott, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
of 1938, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. (FLSA), the
District of Columbia Payment and Collection of Wages Law,
D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1301 et seq. (DCPCWL), and the
District of Columbia Minimum Wage Revision Act, D.C. Code
Ann. § 32-1001 et seq. (DCMWRA). After the defendants
failed to enter an appearance in the case or comply with the
Court's November 13, 2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order
granting conditional certification, Dkt. 15, or the
Court's December 28, 2019 Minute Order, the Court ordered
the defendants to appear for a show cause hearing as to why
the defendants should not be held in civil contempt, Dkt. 22.
When the defendants failed to appear at the show cause
hearing, or otherwise respond to the Court's orders,
counsel for the plaintiff orally moved for civil contempt.
For the reasons stated below, the Court finds the defendants
in civil contempt for failing to comply with the Court's
November 13, 2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order and the
Court's December 28, 2019 Minute Order.
case arises from alleged violations of the overtime
provisions of the FLSA, the DCPCWL, and the DCMWRA. Dkt. 1 at
1. The original complaint was amended and re-filed as a
collective action for overtime wages under the FLSA and as a
class action for overtime wages pursuant to Rule 23 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the DCPCWL, and the DCMWRA.
Dkt. 4 at 1-2. The plaintiff brought the action on behalf of
himself and all similarly situated hourly workers providing
labor for Hunter Allied of Maryland, Inc., which is a
Maryland Corporation providing construction services within
Washington, D.C. Id. at 2-3.
personal service of the complaint, Dkt. 3, and the amended
complaint, Dkt. 7, upon Mr. Bradford Q. Ott, who is the named
individual defendant in this case and the president and owner
of the corporate defendant, the defendants failed to appear.
The plaintiff then moved for an entry of default, Dkt. 10,
and the Clerk entered default against the defendants. Dkt.
11, 12. On November 13, 2018, the Court granted the
plaintiff's Motion to Conditionally Certify a Fair Labor
Standards Act Collective Action. Dkt. 15. The Court later
ordered the defendants to produce “a computer-readable
list of all employees who worked as hourly employees of
Hunter Allied of Maryland, Inc., since April 24, 2015,
” by January 18, 2019. See Minute Order of
December 28, 2019. The plaintiff mailed the Court's
orders to the individual defendant on December 29, 2018, and
the orders were personally served on the defendants on
January 8, 2019. Dkt. 18 at 1-2.
January 25, 2019, after receiving no response from the
defendant, the plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Directing
Defendants to Show Cause Why Defendants Should Not be Held in
Civil Contempt. Dkt. 19. On April 24, 2019, the Court held a
hearing on the plaintiff's motion, which the Court
ultimately granted. See Minute Order of April 25,
2019. In the Court's April 25, 2019 Minute Order and
subsequent Show Cause Order, Dkt. 22, the Court directed the
defendants to appear in person on May 29, 2019 at 11:00 AM
and show cause why the Court should not find each defendant
in contempt. The Court's Show Cause Order was mailed to
the defendants' address of record. Id. However,
the defendants failed to appear at the May 29, 2019 hearing
or otherwise respond to the Court's orders.
contempt is a remedial device that a court can utilize to
achieve full compliance with its orders.” Int'l
Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. ZAK
Architectural Metal & Glass LLC, 736 F.Supp.2d 35,
38 (D.D.C. 2010) (citing Secs. & Exch. Comm'n v.
Bankers Alliance Corp., 881 F.Supp. 673, 678 (D.D.C.
1995)). “‘[C]ourts have inherent power to enforce
compliance with their lawful orders through civil
contempt,' and may do so when a party ‘has violated
an order that is clear and unambiguous,' and the
violation is proved by ‘clear and convincing
evidence.'” Walters v. People's Republic of
China, 72 F.Supp.3d 8, 10 (D.D.C. 2014) (quoting
Armstrong v. Exec. Office of the President, Office of
Admin., 1 F.3d 1274, 1289 (D.C. Cir. 1993)).
establish civil contempt, a movant must show three element by
clear and convincing evidence: “(1) there was a court
order in place; (2) the order required certain conduct by the
defendant; and (3) the defendant failed to comply with that
order.” International Painters, 736 F.Supp.2d
at 38. “The sole purpose of civil contempt sanctions is
to ‘coerce compliance or compensate a complainant for
losses sustained,' not to punish.” Guantanamera
Cigar Co. v. Corporacion Habanos, S.A., 750 F.Supp.2d
31, 34 (D.D.C. 2010) (quoting In re Fannie Mae Sec.
Litig., 552 F.3d 814, 823 (D.C. Cir. 2009)). The
available sanctions for a finding of “civil contempt
includes compensatory and coercive fines, as well as
imprisonment.” United States v. Latney's
Funeral Home, Inc., 41 F.Supp.3d 24, 36 (D.D.C. 2014).
Courts may also award attorneys' fees and expenses in
conjunction with a civil contempt proceeding. Landmark
Legal Found. v. E.P.A., 272 F.Supp.2d 70, 86 (D.D.C.
2003) (citing Fleischmann Distilling Corp. v. Maier
Brewing Co., 386 U.S. 714, 718 (1967) (“It is
well-established that courts may award attorneys' fees
and expenses in conjunction with a civil contempt
civil contemnor who asserts a genuine issue of material fact
is entitled to a full, impartial hearing.” Food
Lion, Inc. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Int'l
Union, AFL-CIO-CLC, 103 F.3d 1007, 1019 (D.C. Cir. 1997)
(quoting Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
v. Amalgamated Transit Union, 531 F.2d 617, 620 (D.C.
Cir. 1976)). Service is satisfied when a copy of the Show
Cause Order “is mailed to the party's attorney or
directly to the party.” I.A.M. Nat. Pension Fund,
Ben. Plan A, v. Wakefield Industries, Inc., 699 F.2d
1254, 1263 (D.C. Cir. 1983).
by clear and convincing proof, the plaintiff has established
each element of civil contempt. The Court's November 13,
2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order and December 28, 2019
Minute Order unambiguously directed the defendants to provide
the plaintiff with the contact information of other hourly
employees who worked for the defendants during the relevant
time period. To date, the defendants have not complied with
either of the Court's orders.
defendants have failed to appear despite the fact that the
individual defendant was personally served with the
complaint, amended complaint, the Court's November 13,
2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order, and the Court's
December 28, 2019 Minute Order. The defendants were also
mailed a copy of the Court's April 25, 2019 Order to Show
Cause. Courts have approved daily fines to compel compliance
with similar court orders, and the Court finds it appropriate
to do the same in this case. See, e.g., Sec 'y,
Dep't of Labor v. River Ranch Bar & Grille, LLC,
2018 WL 2011372 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 30, 2018) (approving daily
fine of $500 per day for failure to satisfy a default
it is hereby ORDERED ...