Knight v. Paladin Global Corporation et al
ORDER AND OPINION granting 34 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 4/15/2014. (ir)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 13-80167-CIV-MARRA/MATTHEWMAN
PALADIN GLOBAL CORPORATION,
and NICOLE J. BANKER, individually,
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment
[DE 34] filed on January 7, 2014. Despite ample notice,1 no response to the motion
has been filed. As such, this case is ripe for adjudication. The Court has carefully
considered the record, applicable law, and is otherwise fully advised in the premises.
Background and Preliminary Facts
On February 15, 2013, Plaintiff initiated this action pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA") to recover unpaid overtime wages and other relief from
Paladin Global Corporation (“Paladin”), and Nicole J. Banker (“Banker”), the
individual defendant (collectively, the "Defendants") [DE 1]. On April 9, 2013, John S.
See Notice of Summary Judgment issued on January 29, 2014, in accordance
with Griffith v. Wainwright, 772 F.2d 822, 824 (11th Cir. 1988). In the Notice,
Defendants were warned that if they failed to submit the necessary sworn affidavits
or concise statement of material facts, this Court would accept all material facts set
forth in the motion supported by record evidence as true in accordance with Local
Rule 7.5.D [DE 36].
Trimper, Esq. of the law firm Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A. appeared and
filed an Answer on behalf of all Defendants [DE 13].
On July 9, 2013, the Court granted Defendants’ Counsel’s Motion to Withdraw.
The corporate defendant, Paladin, was instructed to retain new counsel on or before
July 30, 2013. No counsel has made an appearance on Paladin’s behalf. Without
counsel of record, Paladin is precluded from defending itself. Similarly, the
individual defendant, Banker, has not responded to motions or complied with Court
orders, indicating that she is not defending herself. By failing to defend this case in
any manner, including failing to controvert Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed Facts,
in accordance with Local Rule 7.5.D, all material facts set forth in Plaintiff's
Statement of Undisputed Facts which are supported by evidence in the record shall
be deemed admitted and uncontroverted.
Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate only when the pleadings, depositions, and
affidavits submitted by the parties show that no genuine issue of material fact exists
and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).
The court should view the evidence and any inferences that may be drawn from it in
the light most favorable to the non-movant. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S.
144, 158-59 (1970). The party seeking summary judgment must first identify grounds
that show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
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477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). The burden then shifts to the non-movant, who must go
beyond the pleadings and present affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue
of material fact does exist. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257
The Court is required to consider the merits of the motion despite a lack of
response by Defendants, Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1269 (11th Cir. 2008), and
must ensure the motion itself is support by evidentiary materials. See United States
v. One Piece of Real Property Located at 5800 SW 74th Ave., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101
(11th Cir. 2004); see also Jaroma v. Massey, 873 F.2d 17, 20 (1st Cir. 1989) ("[T]he
district court cannot grant a motion for summary judgment merely for lack of any
response by the opposing party, since the district court must review the motion and
the supporting papers to determine whether they establish the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.") In the instant matter, summary judgment against Defendants
is appropriate as the undisputed factual evidence supports the allegations set forth in
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The following facts are taken from Plaintiff’s Statement of Material Facts in
Support of Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 35]. Each fact cites to documents and
evidence in the record, including Plaintiff’s sworn answers to interrogatories, which
references are incorporated herein. See, e.g., DE 8-1.
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Paladin is a security company which conducts business in Palm Beach County.
As a result of the services provided by Paladin, two or more of its employees
regularly handled and worked with goods and materials moved in or produced
in commerce. At all times material hereto, Defendants were an "enterprise
engaged in commerce" and were Plaintiff’s "employer" within the meaning of
the FLSA. The annual gross revenue of Defendants was in excess of
$500,000.00 per annum during the relevant time periods.
At all times relevant to this action, Banker was an individual resident of the
State of Florida, who owned and operated Paladin, and who regularly exercised
the authority to: (a) hire and fire employees of Paladin; (b) determine the
work schedules for the employees of Paladin; and (c) control the finances and
operations of Paladin. By virtue of having exercised that authority on behalf of
Paladin, Banker is an employer as defined by 29 U.S.C. 201 et. seq.
At all times material hereto, Plaintiff was an "employee" of Defendants and the
work performed by Plaintiff was essential to the business performed by
From approximately January 2012 through July 2012, Plaintiff was employed
with Defendants as an armed security guard.
At various material times within the last two years, Plaintiff worked for
Defendants in excess of forty (40) hours within a work week.
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During the time period from January 2012 through July 2012, Defendants failed
to compensate Plaintiff at the rate of one and one-half times Plaintiffs regular
rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) within a single work
Defendants have violated Title 29 U.S.C. § 207 from at least January 2012
through July 2012, in that:
Plaintiff worked in excess of forty (40) hours per week for the period in
which he was employed with Defendants;
No payments, and provisions for payment, have been made
by Defendants to properly compensate Plaintiff at the
statutory rate of one and one- half times Plaintiffs regular
rate for those hours worked in excess of forty (40) per work
week as provided by the FLSA; and
Defendants have failed to maintain proper time records as mandated by
Plaintiff should be compensated at the rate of one and one-half times
Plaintiff’s regular rate for those hours that Plaintiff worked in excess of forty
(40) per week, as required by the FLSA. At all material times, Plaintiff’s
regular rate of pay was $12.50 per hour, thus his overtime pay should have
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From January 1, 2012 through June 2, 2012 (calculated by Plaintiff as 21
weeks), Plaintiff worked for Defendants an average of 18 hours per day, six
days per week, for a total of 108 hours per week, which included 68 hours of
overtime per week.
From January 1, 2012 through June 2, 2012 Plaintiff was paid an average of
$980.00 per week but he should have been paid $1,775.00 per week. This
created a deficit of $795 a week x 21 weeks = $16,695 owed for the period.
From June 4, 2012 through July 27, 2012 (calculated by Plaintiff as 7 weeks),
Plaintiff worked for Defendants an average of 12 hours per day, five days per
week, for a total of 60 hours per week, which included 20 hours of overtime
From June 4, 2012 through July 27, 2012, Plaintiff was paid an average of
$640.00 per week but he should have been paid $875.00 per week. This
created a deficit of $235.00 a week x 7 weeks = $1,645.00.
As a result of Defendants’ failure to properly pay Plaintiff, he is owed
$18,340.00 in unpaid overtime wages (unliquidated).
The record evidence demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material
fact in dispute. Absent any legitimate factual disputes, Plaintiff is entitled to a
judgment which includes $18,340.00 in unpaid overtime wages. In addition, Plaintiff
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is entitled to liquidated damages in the same amount of $18,340.00.2 Overall,
Plaintiff is owed a total of $36,680 for unpaid overtime wages and liquidated
In accordance with the conclusions made above, it is hereby
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 34]
is GRANTED. Nicole J. Banker is jointly and severally liable with the corporate
defendant, Paladin Global Corporation, under the FLSA for Plaintiff’s unpaid wages.3
29 U.S.C. § 216(b) provides that “[a]ny employer who violates the ... [FLSA]
shall be liable to the employee or employees affected in the amount of their unpaid
minimum wages ... and in an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.”
“Under the FLSA a district court generally must award a plaintiff liquidated damages
that are equal in amount to actual damages.” Rodriguez v. Farm Stores Grocery,
Inc., 518 F.3d 1259, 1272 (11th Cir. 2008).
In Patel v. Wargo, the Eleventh Circuit wrote,
An employer includes “any person acting directly or indirectly in the
interest of an employer in relation to an employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(d).
“The overwhelming weight of authority is that a corporate officer with
operational control of a corporation's covered enterprise is an employer
along with the corporation, jointly and severally liable under the FLSA
for unpaid wages.” Donovan v. Agnew, 712 F.2d 1509, 1511 (1st
Cir.1983) (citing cases). Accord Donovan v. Grim Hotel Co., 747 F.2d
966, 972 (5th Cir.1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1124 (1985). . . To be
personally liable, an officer must either be involved in the day-to-day
operation or have some direct responsibility for the supervision of the
803 F.2d 632, 637-38 (11th Cir. 1986); Alvarez Perez v. Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club,
Inc., 515 F.3d 1150, 1160 (11th Cir. 2008).
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In accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 58, final judgment will be entered by separate
order. Any pending motions are denied as moot. The Court reserves jurisdiction to
consider the matter of attorney’s fees.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County,
Florida, this 15th day of April, 2014.
KENNETH A. MARRA
United States District Judge
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