United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
MEMORANDUM ORDER & OPINION
Raymond A. Jackson United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Attorney's fees. The parties have fully briefed this
matter, and a hearing is unnecessary to resolve the instant
Motion. For the reasons stated herein, Defendant's Motion
for Attorneys' Fees is GRANTED.
action arises from Defendants' alleged wrongful
termination and the failure to hire Plaintiff because of his
age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Compl.
¶ 11. Plaintiff was born on September 15, 1954, and he
worked as a Virginia State Licensed Optician. Compl.
¶¶ 2, 20. In April 1997, "Dr. Hal W.
Breedlove, O.D., P.C. operating under the trade name Coastal
Vision Center ("Coastal Vision") hired Plaintiff as
Practice Manager." Compl. ¶ 22. As Practice
Manager, "Plaintiff managed the daily operations of
Coastal Vision, " and his "main duties included,
but were not limited to: hiring and firing of staff,
preparing payroll, handling human resources issues,
negotiating and executing vendor contracts, purchasing
frames, lenses, and equipment, and resolving patients'
complaints." Compl. ¶¶ 24, 25. The Complaint
alleges that Dr. Breedlove "was the only owner of
Coastal Vision, but he employed Wang, S. Nilsson, and
Lin-Nilsson as optometrists at his practice." Compl.
¶ 28. The Complaint further avers that "Defendants
subjected Plaintiff to disparaging comments about his
age." Compl. ¶ 30.
to the Complaint, "[i]n or around May of 2013, Wang, S.
Nilsson, Lin-Nilsson announced that they, together with Beach
and Clearview, were purchasing Coastal Vision from
Breedlove" and "introduced themselves as the
'new owners' of Coastal Vision to all employees,
vendors and patients." Compl. ¶¶ 31, 32. Then,
"[o]n or about August 16, 2013, Wang and Lin Nilsson
conducted a meeting with Plaintiff to discuss his employment
under the new ownership of Coastal Vision. Wang and
Lin-Nilsson stated that upon completion of the sale of the
practice. Plaintiff would be terminated." Compl. ¶
33. Plaintiff claims that he "stated he was interested
in remaining with Coastal Vision in the capacity of an
Optician at lower pay rate." Compl. ¶ 34. The
Complaint alleges that "[o]n or about August 16, 2013,
Plaintiff applied for an Optician position." Compl.
¶ 35. Although "Wang stated that he would discuss
the option of hiring Plaintiff as an Optician with the other
owners, and that he would set up a meeting to interview
Plaintiff, " Compl. ¶ 36, "[o]n August 27,
2013, S. Nilsson informed Plaintiff that he would not be
re-hired or considered for any position at Coastal Vision,
including both the Practice Manager and Optician positions,
" Compl. ¶ 38.
sale of Coastal Vision to Clearview, Beach, Wang, S. Nilsson,
and Lin Nilsson occurred on or about September 6, 2013.
Compl. ¶ 39. That same day, "Clearview, Beach,
Wang, S. Nilsson, and Lin-Nilsson terminated Plaintiff."
Compl. ¶ 40. According to the Complaint, "all of
the employees of Coastal Vision, with the exception of
Plaintiff, were interviewed by Wang, S. Nilsson, Lin-Nilsson,
and Beach, " and were not terminated. Compl.
¶¶ 43, 44. Both the Practice Manager position and
the Optician position were "filled by a person who was
substantially younger than Plaintiff." Compl.
¶¶ 71, 72.
Complaint additionally alleges that "at the relevant
times alleged herein, Defendants were operating either as
Clearview Eye Care, Inc. or were operating as general
partners." Compl. ¶ 4. Furthermore, "Clearview
has at least 15 employees." Compl. ¶ 5. According
to the Complaint, "Defendants qualify as an
'employer' as set forth in the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 [("ADEA")], as codified, 29
U.S.C.§§ 621 et seq." Compl. ¶ 10.
Plaintiff claims he "filed a Charge of Discrimination
against Clearview Eye care, Inc. [sic] d/b/a Coastal Vision
and its owners for the unlawful employment practices set
forth herein with the United States Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and did so within
the required time limits specified by law and
regulation." Compl. ¶ 16. The EEOC sent Plaintiff a
Notice of Right to Sue on or about September 28, 2015. Compl.
¶ 17; Compl., Ex. 1. The Dismissal and Notice of Right
to Sue states that Plaintiff "may file a lawsuit against
the respondents);" however, it does not appear that the
Notice identified the respondents) by name. Compl., Ex. 1. B.
filed the Complaint on December 23, 2015. ECF No. 1.
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Award Fees
on February 26, 2016. ECF Nos. 4, 6. Plaintiff responded in
opposition to both motions on March 8, 2016. ECF Nos. 11 and
12. Plaintiff also filed a Cross Motion to Award Fees on
March 8, 2016. ECF No. 13. Defendants replied on March 11,
2016, ECF Nos. 15 and 16, and the Court partially granted
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, and denied Defendant's
Motion for Attorney Fees on August 9, 2016. ECF No. 17.
moved for Default Entry against the remaining Defendant on
August 25, 2016, ECF No. 18, and the Clerk entered default
judgment that same day pursuant to 55(a) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 19. Defendant filed a response in
opposition to the Clerk's default entry on August 26,
2016, ECF No. 20, and filed a Rebuttal Brief on August 29,
2016. ECF No. 21.
filed an Answer to the Complaint on September 20, 2016. ECF
No. 25. The Court issued a Rule 16(b) Scheduling Order on
October 27, 2016. ECF No. 27.
moved for a Settlement Conference on November 4, 2016. ECF
No. 28. Defendant also moved for clarification of the
Court's Order on November 5, 2016. ECF No. 29. Plaintiff
responded in opposition to both motions on November 14, 2016.
ECF Nos. 30 and 31. Plaintiff also moved for attorney fees,
and filed a supporting memorandum, on November 14, 2016. ECF
Nos. 32 and 33.
filed Rebuttal Briefs for both the Motion for Clarification
and the Motion for Settlement Conference, ECF Nos. 34 and 35,
as well as a response in opposition to Plaintiffs Motion for
Attorney fees on November 17, 2016. ECF No. 36. The Court
denied Defendant's Motion for a Settlement Conference on