United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge
pending and ready for resolution in this case involving
alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Maryland
Wage and Hour Law, and the Maryland Wage Payment and
Collection Law is a motion for default judgment filed by
Plaintiff Miguel Angel Calderon Recinos. (ECF No. 11). The
court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local
Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion will be
granted in part and denied in part.
otherwise noted, the following facts are set forth in the
complaint. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff Miguel Angel Calderon
Recinos ("Plaintiff") worked for Defendants JMZ
Construction, LLC ("JMZ Construction"), Jose
Margarito Gomez, and Joap Vasquez from February 22, 2013
through October 10, 2014. JMZ Construction is a Maryland
corporation, and Mr. Gomez and Mr. Vasquez controlled the
day-to-day operations of the corporation. (ECF No. 1
¶¶ 4-14). Plaintiff avers that he worked for JMZ
Construction for an average of eighty-four hours per week for
the first seven months of his employment and then an average
of sixty-four hours per week until July 1, 2014. (ECF No.
11-1 ¶ 2). Plaintiff earned a regular hourly rate of
$16.00 per hour.Plaintiff alleges Defendants never paid him
wages at an overtime rate for the hours he worked above forty
hours each week from February 22, 2013 through July 1, 2014.
Plaintiff declares in his sworn affidavit that Defendants owe
him approximately $19, 008.00. (ECF No. 11-1 ¶ 3).
filed his complaint on February 11, 2015. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff alleges overtime violations pursuant to the
Maryland Wage and Hour Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl.
§ 3-401 et seq. ("MWHL") (Count I);
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C.
§ 201 et seq. ("FLSA") (Count II);
and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, Md. Code
Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-501 et seq.
("MWPCL") (Count III).
of process was properly effected on JMZ Construction and Mr.
Gomez. Plaintiff failed to notify the court that service was
effected on Mr. Vasquez within 120 days after the filing of
the complaint, and Plaintiff subsequently submitted a notice
of dismissal as to Mr. Vasquez. (ECF No. 8). The court
approved the notice of dismissal of Mr. Vasquez on August 10,
2015. (ECF No. 9). When Defendants failed to
respond within the requisite time period, Plaintiff moved for
entry of default (ECF No. 5), and the clerk entered default
as to JMZ Construction and Mr. Gomez (ECF No. 6). On October
23, Plaintiff filed the pending motion for default judgment
and for attorney’s fees and costs. (ECF No. 11). To
date, Defendants have taken no action in this 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.
were served with the complaint but have not responded.
Accordingly, all of Plaintiff’s allegations as to
liability are deemed admitted.
FLSA provides that, for any hours worked in excess of forty
hours per week, an employee shall "receive
compensation for his employment . . . at a rate not less than
one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is
employed." 29 U.S.C. § 207. Similarly, Section
3-415 of the MWHL requires employers to pay their employees
an overtime wage of at least one-and-half times their usual
hourly wage for work they perform in excess of forty hours
per week. Md.Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. §§ 3-415,
3-420. "The requirements of the MWHL
‘mirror’ those of the FLSA, and claims under both
statutes therefore stand or fall together." Orellana
v. Cienna Properties, LLC, JKB-11-2515, 2012 WL 203421,
at *5 (D.Md. Jan. 23, 2012) (citing Turner v. Human
Genome Science, Inc., 292 F.Supp.2d 738, 744 (D.Md.
2003)). Moreover, the Court of Appeals of Maryland reiterated
the reach of the MWPCL claim in Peters v. Early
Healthcare Giver, Inc., 439 Md. 646, 646 (2014):
Maryland has two wage enforcement laws . . . the [M]WHL and
the [M]WPCL. The [M]WHL aims to protect Maryland workers by
providing a minimum wage standard. The [M]WPCL requires an
employer to pay its employees regularly while employed, and
in full at the termination of employment. Read together,
these statutes allow employees to recover unlawfully ...