Perez v. Margaritas V&P, Inc.
ORDER denying without prejudice 14 Plaintiff's Motion for Clerk Default. Signed by Magistrate Judge Embry J. Kidd on 9/16/2022. (RMN)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No: 6:22-cv-1133-RBD-EJK
MARGARITAS V&P, INC.,
This cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Clerk Default (the
“Motion”) (Doc. 14), filed August 25, 2022. Upon consideration, the Motion is due to
On June 30, 2022, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendant Margaritas
V&P, Inc. (“Margaritas”) for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201–219. (Doc. 1.) The Motion seeks entry of default against Margaritas as
Defendant has not responded to the Complaint. (Doc. 14.)
Plaintiff asserts that Erique Araica, who is the brother of Joanie E. Velazquez,
Margaritas’ corporate officer, is authorized to accept substitute service on behalf of
Margaritas. (Id. at 1.) Araica was served on July 23, 2022, at the residence located at
418 Beauregard Avenue, Palm Bay, FL 32907, which they share. (Doc. 11.)
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“When 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.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Before the clerk may
enter default, he or she must determine that effective service has been made on the
defaulting defendant because, without effective service, there is no jurisdiction and no
obligation to answer or “otherwise defend.” See Kelly v. Florida, 233 Fed. App’x 883,
885 (11th Cir. 2007) (unpublished).
Under the federal rules, a corporate defendant may be served by:
delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to
an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent
authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of
process and—if the agent is one authorized by statute and
the statute so requires—by also mailing a copy of each to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(h)(1)(B). A corporate defendant may also be served by “following
state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction
in the state where the district court is located or where service is made[.]” Fed. R. Civ.
P. 4(h)(1)(A), 4(e)(1).
Florida Statutes permit process to be served on a corporation by serving any one
of the following persons: (1) the president, vice president or other corporate head; (2)
the cashier, treasurer, secretary, or general manager; (3) any corporate director; (4) any
Case 6:22-cv-01133-RBD-EJK Document 15 Filed 09/16/22 Page 3 of 4 PageID 49
officer or business agent residing in Florida; or (5) an agent designated by the
corporation under Florida Statute § 48.091. 1 See Fla. Stat. §§ 48.081(1), (3)(a).
The process server’s return states that the summons and complaint in this action
were served on Araica at 418 Beauregard Avenue, Palm Bay, Florida 32907, and that
Araica resides there and is over the age of fifteen. (Doc. 11.) The return states that
Velazquez, who is a corporate officer of Margaritas, shares that residence with Araica.
(Id.) However, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate how service is effective on
Margaritas by substitute service on Araica. In fact, the Motion fails to address this in
any respect, stating in conclusory fashion that “[t]he Registered Agent . . . was properly
served . . . .” (Doc. 14, ¶ 2.) A review of the Florida Division of Corporations website
indicates that Margaritas’ registered agent is John Holder and lists a Boca Raton
address for service. 2 Because Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate how the substitute
Florida Statute § 48.091 provides:
(1) Every Florida corporation and every foreign corporation
now qualified or hereafter qualifying to transact business in
this state shall designate a registered agent and registered
office in accordance with part I of chapter 607.
(2) Every corporation shall keep the registered office open
from 10 a.m. to 12 noon each day except Saturdays,
Sundays, and legal holidays, and shall keep one or more
registered agents on whom process may be served at the
office during these hours. The corporation shall keep a sign
posted in the office in some conspicuous place designating
the name of the corporation and the name of its registered
agent on whom process may be served.
Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Entity Name List,
Case 6:22-cv-01133-RBD-EJK Document 15 Filed 09/16/22 Page 4 of 4 PageID 50
service here was effective, the Motion is due to be denied without prejudice.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Clerk Default (Doc.
14) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
DONE and ORDERED in Orlando, Florida on September 16, 2022.
margaritas%20V%26P/Page1?searchNameOrder=MARGARITASVP (last visited
Sept. 12, 2022, 2:22 PM).
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