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Galindo v. McGee Landscaping, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

January 15, 2016

JOSE MANUEL QUIROA GALINDO, Plaintiff,
v.
McGEE LANDSCAPING, INC., et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THERESA CARROLL BUCHANAN, Magistrate Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on plaintiff's Rule 55(b)(2) Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs. (Dkt. 9.) After a representative for defendants failed to respond to plaintiff's Motion or to appear at the hearing before Judge Nachmanoff on November 20, 2015, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took this matter under advisement.[1]

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Background

Plaintiff Jose Manuel Quiroa Galindo is an adult resident of Maryland. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Defendant McGee Landscaping, Inc. is a Virginia corporation, and defendant Eric B. McGee is the owner of McGee Landscaping, Inc. and a resident of Alexandria, Virginia. (Id. at 1, ¶¶ 4-5.) Defendants employed plaintiff as a laborer from approximately January 1, 2005 through April 20, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 16.) During that time, defendants paid plaintiff an hourly wage of $19.50. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Although plaintiff worked an average of 75 hours per week, defendants did not pay plaintiff at a rate of one-and-one-half times his hourly wage for those hours he worked above 40 hours per week. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19.) On July 16, 2015, plaintiff filed suit against defendants alleging overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (Id. at 1-2.) Plaintiff now seeks unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. (Mot. Default J. 4-5, 9.)[2]

B. Jurisdiction and Venue

Before the Court can render default judgment, it must have both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over the defaulting party/parties.

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which provides that district courts shall have original jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. This dispute arises under FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., which provides relief for an action to recover overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. See 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Therefore, federal question jurisdiction exists for this action.

This Court also has personal jurisdiction over defendants because defendant McGee Landscaping, Inc. is a Virginia corporation and defendant Eric McGee is a Virginia resident. (Compl. 1, ¶ 4.)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), venue is proper because both defendants reside in Virginia and defendant Eric McGee resides within this judicial district. (Id. at 1, ¶ 2.)

C. Service of Process

As a general rule, a defendant must be served with the summons and complaint filed with the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. On July 29, 2015, at defendant Eric McGee's residence, plaintiff's private process server served the summons for Eric McGee on Gloria McGee, a person of suitable age and discretion, who also resided there. (Dkt. 12.) Gloria McGee also accepted service on behalf of defendant McGee Landscaping, Inc. (Dkt. 3.) Ms. McGee is Vice President of McGee Landscaping, Inc. and is designated by law to accept service of process on behalf of the corporation. (Dkt. 3.) Therefore, service was proper under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(e) and 4(h).

D. Grounds for Default Judgment

Defendants have not appeared, answered, or otherwise filed any responsive pleadings in this case. On September 21, 2015, the Honorable T.S. Ellis, III ordered that plaintiff seek entry of default from the Clerk and subsequently file a Motion for Default Judgment. (Dkt. 5.) On September 24, 2015, plaintiff sought the entry of default as to defendants. (Dkt. 6.) The following day, the Clerk of this Court entered default as to defendants pursuant to plaintiff's Request for Entry of Default ...


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