United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge
pending and ready for resolution in this unpaid wage and
overtime case is a motion for default judgment and for
attorney’s fees and costs filed by Plaintiff Milagro De
La Paz Flores Hernandez (“Plaintiff”). (ECF No.
6). The court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary.
Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons,
Plaintiff’s motion will be granted in part and denied
worked as a “kitchen hand” for Defendant James
Christopher Hoge (“Defendant”) from 2008 until
March 22, 2015. (ECF No. 6-1 ¶ 3). During the time
period relevant to this case, Defendant paid Plaintiff $10.00
per hour from June 2012 till May 2014 and $13.00 per hour
from May 2014 until March 2015. (ECF No. 6-2). According to
the complaint, Defendant was aware of the legal requirements
to pay timely wages due, and he knowingly failed to pay
Plaintiff time and a half for overtime hours worked. (ECF No.
1 ¶¶ 32, 37). Plaintiff alleges that she regularly
worked more than forty hours per week and was paid her
regular hourly rate for all hours worked, including overtime
hours. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 22). In all, Plaintiff
was paid only her regular rate for 759.5 hours of
overtime. (See ECF No. 6-2). Additionally,
Plaintiff contends that she was not compensated at all for
thirteen hours of work, both regular and
overtime. (See Id. at 2-4).
filed her complaint on July 7, 2015. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
alleges violations pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
(“FLSA”) (Count I); the Maryland Wage and Hour
Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-401 et
seq. (“MWHL”) (Count II); and the Maryland
Wage Payment and Collection Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab. &
Empl. § 3-501 et seq. (“MWPCL”)
of process was properly effected on Defendant on July 19,
2015. When Defendant failed to respond within the requisite
time period, Plaintiff moved for entry of default. (ECF No.
4). On September 8, the clerk entered default. (ECF No. 5).
On October 5, Plaintiff filed the pending motion for default
judgment and for attorney’s fees and costs, attaching
as exhibits an affidavit of Plaintiff, a damages calculations
spreadsheet, an example of a timecard that Defendant used to
track Plaintiff’s hours worked, and an affidavit
regarding attorney’s fees, expenses, and court costs.
(ECF Nos. 6; 6-1; 6-2; 6-3; 6-4). To date, Defendant has
taken no action in the case.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), “[w]hen a party
against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has
failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is
shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the
party’s default.” Rule 55(b)(1) provides that the
clerk may enter a default judgment if the plaintiff's
claim is “for a sum certain or a sum that can be made
certain by computation.”
[entry of] default, the well-pled allegations in a complaint
as to liability are taken as true, but the allegations as to
damages are not.” S.E.C. v. Lawbaugh, 359
F.Supp.2d 418, 422 (D.Md. 2005). It remains, however,
“for the court to determine whether these unchallenged
factual allegations constitute a legitimate cause of
action.” Agora Fin., LLC v. Samler, 725
F.Supp.2d 491, 494 (D.Md. 2010). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(c) limits the type of judgment that may be
entered based on a party's default: “A default
judgment must not differ in kind from, or exceed in amount,
what is demanded in the pleadings.” Thus, where a
complaint specifies the amount of damages sought, such as
here, the plaintiff is limited to entry of a default judgment
in that amount. “[C]ourts have generally held that a
default judgment cannot award additional damages . . .
because the defendant could not reasonably have expected that
his damages would exceed that amount.” In re
Genesys Data Technologies, Inc., 204 F.3d 124, 132
(4th Cir. 2000). While the court may hold a
hearing to consider evidence as to damages, it is not
required to do so; it may rely instead on “detailed
affidavits or documentary evidence to determine the
appropriate sum.” Adkins v. Teseo, 180
F.Supp.2d 15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001) (citing United Artists
Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5thCir.
was served with the complaint but has not responded.
Accordingly, all of Plaintiff's allegations ...