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Sanabria v. Cocody, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 17, 2017

IRIS SANABRIA,
v.
COCODY, INC.,

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge

         Presently pending and ready for resolution in this unpaid wage and overtime case is a motion for default judgment filed by Plaintiffs Iris Sanabria, Karina Pleitez, and Rosario Lainez (“Plaintiffs”). (ECF No. 14). The court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiffs' complaint recites that they were employed as wait staff at Defendant Cocody, Inc.'s restaurant known as “Coco Cabana Bar and Grill.” Defendant Moussa Toure is the “founder and director” of Defendant Cocody, Inc. Plaintiffs allege that they regularly worked an average of 27 hours per week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights but were not compensated.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint on February 9, 2016. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiffs allege 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”) (Count III).

         Service of process was properly effected on Defendant Cocody, Inc. on February 22, 2016, and upon Defendant Moussa Toure on March 22, 2016. When Defendants failed to respond within the requisite time period, Plaintiffs moved for the entry of default. (ECF No. 8). On May 9, 2016, the clerk entered default. (ECF No. 9). On April 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed the pending motion for default judgment and attached as exhibits affidavits of Plaintiffs. (ECF Nos. 14, 14-3, 14-4, and 14-5). To date, Defendants have taken no action in the case.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under 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.”

         “Upon [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). 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 (5th Cir. 1979)).

         III. Analysis

         A. Liability

         Defendants were served with the complaint but have not responded. Accordingly, all of Plaintiffs' allegations ...


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