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Villatoro v. CTS & Associates, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 4, 2016

WILFRIDO BERNAL VILLATORO, et al
v.
CTS & ASSOCIATES, INC., et al.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge

On March 26, 2015, Plaintiffs Wilfrido Bernal Villatoro, et al. (“Plaintiffs”) filed a motion for default judgment and for attorneys’ fees and costs. (ECF No. 7). On October 23, the court issued a memorandum opinion and order denying Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice because Plaintiffs had not provided sufficient support for their request for damages. (ECF Nos. 8; 9). In the prior memorandum opinion, the court held that Defendant CTS & Associates, Inc. and Dana Purkey (collectively, the “Defendants”) were liable to Plaintiffs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (the “MWHL”), and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (the “MWPCL”). (ECF No. 8, at 4-6). On November 6, Plaintiffs filed a supplemental motion for default judgment, which provides more detailed affidavits attesting to the number of hours and weeks each plaintiff worked. (ECF No. 10). Defendants have still taken no action in this case. The court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment and for attorneys’ fees and costs will be granted in part and denied in part.[1]

I. Damages

The complaint asserts that Plaintiffs are owed $102, 914.16 in actual damages for overtime worked. The complaint also requests either double or treble damages under the FLSA or the MWPCL, respectively. (ECF No. 1, at 5-7). “In cases such as the present one in which wage and pay records, required to be kept by employers pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 211(c), are not available, [the employee] must show the amount and extent of [his] improperly compensated work ‘as a matter of just and reasonable inference.’” Lopez v. Laws ‘R’ Us, Civ. No. DKC-07-2979, 2008 WL 2227353, at *3 (D.Md. May 23, 2008) (quoting Donovan v. Bel-Loc Diner, Inc., 780 F.2d 1113, 1116 (4th Cir. 1985)). Moreover, an employee’s statement under oath “as to his recollection of the hours he worked and the pay he received, if considered credible by the trier of fact, is sufficient to establish a prima facie case of wages owed, ” and if the employer does not successfully rebut the employee’s statement, “[t]he Court may award damages based on Plaintiffs’ testimony even though the amounts claimed are only approximated and not perfectly accurate.” Id. at *3.

A. Damages Calculation

Plaintiffs’ initial motion did not provide sufficient evidence to create a “just and reasonable inference” of time worked without proper compensation because each plaintiff’s affidavit lacked specificity. Plaintiffs’ supplemental motion includes more detailed affidavits that credibly establish their rate of pay and the number of overtime hours for which they did not receive an overtime premium. Some of the plaintiffs’ affidavits contain discrepancies or miscalculations regarding the amount of weeks worked and the amount of unpaid wages owed. Plaintiffs’ averments of the number of weeks they worked are more precise and credible, and therefore, are the appropriate starting points for calculating the damages each plaintiff is owed.

Plaintiffs all aver that they worked approximately twelve overtime hours each week while employed by Defendants yet were paid only their regular hourly rate for all hours worked. Accordingly, each plaintiff is owed overtime compensation in an amount of fifty percent his regular rate multiplied by twelve hours of overtime multiplied by the number of weeks he worked.

Plaintiff Wilfrido Bernal Villatoro worked for Defendants from 2006 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-1). From 2006 through mid- 2007, Mr. Villatoro received a base wage of $10.00 per hour and worked 84 weeks, earning $5, 040.00 in unpaid wages. From mid-2007 through mid-2008, he worked 52 weeks at a base hourly rate of $12.50, for a total of $3, 900.00 in unpaid wages. From mid-2008 through mid-2012, Mr. Villatoro received a base wage of $15.00 per hour and worked 208 weeks. Accordingly, for this period, Mr. Villatoro is entitled to $18, 720.00 in unpaid overtime wages. From mid-2012 through 2014, Mr. Villatoro received a base wage of $17.00 per hour and worked for 85 weeks, earning $8, 670.00 in unpaid overtime wages. In total, Mr. Villatoro is entitled to $36, 330.00.

Plaintiff Douglas J. Bernal de la O worked for Defendants from July 29, 2011 through 2014. (ECF NO. 10-2). From July 29, 2011 through 2012, Mr. Bernal de la O received a base wage of $13.75 per hour and worked 116 weeks, for a total of $9, 570.00 in unpaid compensation. For portions of 2013 and 2014, Mr. Bernal de la O received a base wage of $15.00 and worked 10 weeks, earning $900.00 in unpaid compensation. Accordingly, Mr. Douglas J. Bernal de la O is entitled to $10, 470.00 in unpaid overtime wages.

Plaintiff Elvis A. Bernal worked for Defendants from 2012 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-3). Mr. Bernal received a base wage of $13.70 and worked 112 weeks. Accordingly, Mr. Bernal is entitled to $9, 206.40 in unpaid overtime wages.

Plaintiff Will Miguel Bernal de la O worked for Defendants from late-2011 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-4). From late-2011 through late-2012, Mr. Bernal de la O received a base wage of $13.70 and worked 52 weeks, for a total of $4, 274.40 in unpaid wages. From 2013 through 2014, he received a regular wage of $15.00 and worked 52 weeks, for a total of $4, 680.00. Accordingly, Mr. Will Miguel Bernal de la O is entitled to $8, 954.40 in unpaid overtime wages.

Plaintiff Erick Jeovanny Bernal de la O worked for Defendants from late-2009 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-5). From late-2009 through 2011, Mr. Bernal de la O earned an hourly rate of $13.75 and worked for 116 weeks, for a total of $9, 570.00 in unpaid compensation. From mid-2012 through 2014, Mr. Bernal de la O received a base wage of $15.00 and worked 52 weeks, earning $4, 680.00 in unpaid wages. Accordingly, Mr. Erick Jeovanny Bernal de la O is entitled to $14, 250.00 in unpaid overtime wages.

Plaintiff Carlos Mauricio Chicas Rivera worked for Defendants from late-2011 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-6). From late-2011 through 2012, Mr. Rivera received a base wage of $8.75 and worked 58 weeks, for a total of $3, 045.00 in unpaid wages. From 2013 through 2014, Mr. Rivera received a abase wage of $10.00 per hour and worked 60 weeks, earning $3, 600.00 in unpaid wages. Accordingly, Mr. Rivera is entitled to $6, 645.00.

Finally, Plaintiff Bladimir Alexander Pichinte Ardon worked for Defendants from 2013 through 2014. (ECF No. 10-7). He received a base wage of $11.25 per hour and worked for 32 weeks. Accordingly, Mr. ...


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