Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Caceres v. Sonny-N-Son's Painting, LLC

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

August 20, 2019

JOSE R. HERNANDEZ CACERES, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SONNY-N-SON'S PAINTING, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael S. Nachmanoff, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs Jose R. Hernandez Caceres' (“Caceres”) and Manuel A. Casco Sanchez's (“Sanchez”) (collectively, “plaintiffs”) Supplemental Motion for Re-Entry of Default Judgment (Dkt. No. 30). Having reviewed the record and the pleadings, the Court will grant plaintiffs' motion for the reasons that follow.

         I. Procedural Background

         On November 19, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Complaint against defendants Sonny-N-Son's Painting, LLC (“Sonny-N-Son's”) and William T. Cogswell (“Cogswell”) (collectively, “defendants”) alleging violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., for failure to pay overtime wages for plaintiffs and under Va. Code § 65.2-308 for wrongful termination of Caceres. Plaintiffs seek to recover unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs for the FLSA violations. Caceres also seeks damages arising from the wrongful termination. On November 21, 2018, defendants were properly served the Summons and Complaint (Dkt. Nos. 3 and 4). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(a), a responsive pleading was due twenty-one days later on December 12, 2018; however, defendants failed to file a responsive pleading in a timely manner.

         Pursuant to a Court Order (Dkt. No. 5), plaintiffs filed an Application for Entry of Default Against Defendant (Dkt. No. 6) on December 20, 2018. The following day, defendants filed a Motion for Leave to File Answer Out of Time (Dkt. No. 7), including their proposed Answer to Complaint (Dkt. No. 7-1), which the Court granted on December 26, 2018 (Dkt. No. 8). Subsequently, on March 13, 2019, the Court issued a Scheduling Order (Dkt. No. 11) and the parties timely filed a Joint Discovery Plan on March 20, 2019 (Dkt. No. 12), which the Court entered on March 29, 2019 (Dkt. No. 15).

         On May 7, 2019, plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. No. 16) seeking responses to their discovery requests. Defendants failed to file an opposition to plaintiffs' motion. The parties were ordered to appear before the Court on May 31, 2019 for a hearing on plaintiffs' motion (Dkt. No. 18). On that date, plaintiffs appeared but neither defendants nor their counsel appeared. Accordingly, the Court granted plaintiffs' motion to compel and stated that “[i]f defendants fail to comply with [the Court's] Order, they are hereby placed on notice that sanctions may be warranted, including entry of default” (Dkt. No. 22).

         On June 11, 2019, plaintiffs filed a Motion for Re-Entry of Default (Dkt. No. 23) because “other than filing a late answer, [defendants] have failed to participate in this lawsuit.” Id. at 2. On July 25, 2019, the Court granted plaintiffs' motion and required plaintiffs to file a supplemental motion for re-entry of default with affidavits and declarations within fourteen days of the date of the Order (Dkt. No. 29). Accordingly, on July 29, 2019, plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Motion for Re-Entry of Default Judgment (Dkt. No. 30), including declarations from each plaintiff (Dkt. No. 30-1) and an affidavit for attorney's fees and costs (Dkt. No. 30-2), and noticed a hearing on their motion for August 16, 2019 (Dkt. No. 31). On August 16, 2019, plaintiffs appeared but neither defendants nor their counsel appeared (Dkt. No. 32).

         II. Factual Background

         Plaintiffs are residents of Virginia, who worked as non-exempt employees for defendants' painting and home improvement business. Compl. (Dkt. No. 1) ¶¶ 1, 4-5. Sonny-N-Son's is a limited liability company formed under Virginia law with its principal place of business at the home of Cogswell, located at 612 York Lane, Leesburg, V.A. 20175. Id. at ¶ 2. Cogswell is the owner and principal person who exerts control over Sonny-N-Son's and is a resident of Loudon County. Id. at ¶ 3. At all relevant times, defendants generated gross revenues exceeding $500, 000.00 and qualified as an “enterprise” within the meaning of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 203(r), id. at ¶ 6, and plaintiffs were individual employees who engaged in interstate commerce as set forth under 29 U.S.C. §§ 206-07, id. at ¶ 7.

         In July 2007, defendants hired Caceres to work as a painter and carpenter for their business. Id. at ¶ 9. Caceres would load paints and supplies ordered by defendants into their van and drive to various worksites as directed by defendants. Id. On average, Caceres worked 70 hours a week and was paid $16.00 per hour. Id. On September 20, 2018, he was injured on the job. Id. Cogswell thereafter terminated Caceres “because [they] did not have workers compensation insurance and would not be paying any of the medical bills associated with his claim.” Id. On October 12, 2018, Caceres filed a workers' compensation claim, No. VA02000031285. Id. Accordingly, he is owed overtime premiums of approximately $240.00 for each week he worked for defendants (30 hours x $16.00 x .5). Id. Caceres alleges that he worked for defendants for 572 weeks, totaling to $137, 280.00 owed in overtime wages. Id. He also alleges he is owed for his last eight days of work, for which he was not paid, of approximately $1, 280.00 (10 hours x 8 days x $16.00). In sum, Caceres asserts that he is owed overtime wages in the amount of $137, 280.00 plus regular wages in the amount of $1, 280.00, totaling to $138, 5600.00. Id.

         In June 2016, defendants hired Sanchez to also work as a painter and carpenter for their business. Id. at ¶ 10. Similarly, on average, Sanchez worked 70 hours a week and was paid $16.00 per hour. Id. On September 11, 2018, he quit his job. Id. He worked, on average, 70 hours a week and paid $16.00 per hour. Id. He was paid in the form of checks and cash “in order to avoid detection of his unpaid overtime wages.” Id. Accordingly, Sanchez alleges that he is owed overtime premiums of approximately $240.00 for each week he worked for defendants (30 hours x $16.00 x .5). Id. He further alleges he worked for defendants for 60 weeks, totaling to $14, 400.00 owed in overtime wages. Id.

         Accordingly, plaintiffs brought the instant action against defendants on November 19, 2018. Count I alleges a violation under the FLSA for unpaid overtime wages and seeks unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorney's fees and costs, among other relief. Id. at ¶¶ 13-46. Count II alleges wrongful termination of Caceres in violation of Va. Code § 65.2-308, which prevents an employee from being discharged in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim. Id. at ¶¶ 47-55. For this count, Caceres seeks monetary compensation-including back- and front-pay, salary, and other job-related benefits-as well as damages for emotional distress; punitive damages; and attorney's fees and costs, among other relief. Id. at pgs. 10-11.

         III. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Service of Process

         A court must have both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over a defaulting defendant before it can render a default judgment. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the instant action alleges violations of federal law, the FLSA. The Court also has subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 because the claim is part of the same case and controversy as the FLSA claim. This Court also has personal jurisdiction of defendants because Sonny-N-Son's is a Virginia limited liability company ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.