Martinez et al v. Capitol Drywall, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER SUSTAINING Plaintiffs' objection to Report and Recommendation, STATING that Plaintiffs are entitled to treble damages, rather than merely liquidated damages, ADOPTING the Report and Recommendation otherwise, and ENTERING judgment against Defendant Hector Vitela, in the total amount of $163,324.41. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 12/9/2014. (c/m 12/9/14 jf2s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
MOISES MARTINEZ, et al.
Civil Action No. DKC 13-1563
CAPITOL DRYWALL, INC, et al.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Schulze for a Report and Recommendation concerning a motion for
default judgment against Hector Vitela.
The Report issued on
Plaintiffs object to only a portion of the Report, specifically
because Defendant lacked notice.
The remaining plaintiffs are six laborers who were employed
by Capitol Drywall, Inc. to perform drywall installation work at
the National Navy Medical Center between September 2010 and the
summer of 2011.
They filed suit against Capitol Drywall and its
Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (“MWHL”),
and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”).
plaintiffs settled with Capitol Drywall, but contend that Hector
Vitela, who is in default, is also responsible for payment of
After reviewing applicable law, Magistrate Judge Schulze
agreed with Plaintiffs’ assertions and calculations for unpaid
awarding treble damages under the MWPCL, however, because the
judicial decisions at the time of Mr. Vitela’s default precluded
such an award.
Instead, she recommended awarding liquidated (or
double) damages under the FLSA.
As noted above, Plaintiffs take
exception to that part of the Report and Recommendation.
Allied Trades Industry Pension Fund v. Libmak Co., LLC, Civ.
Action No. ELH-12-1125, 2012 WL 5947335, at *2 (D.Md. Nov. 27,
A party who is aggrieved by a magistrate
judge’s report and recommendation as to a
written objections to the proposed findings
and recommendations” within fourteen days.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). The district judge
must then “determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge’s disposition that has been
72(b)(3). But, the Court “need only conduct
a de novo review of those portions of the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation
to which objection is made.”
Smith, 834 F.Supp. 153, 154 (D.Md.1993). As
to those portions of the report for which
there is no objection, the district court
“must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co.,
416 F.3d 310, 315–16 (4th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee
note), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1091, 126
S.Ct. 1033, 163 L.Ed.2d 855 (2006).
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
complaint specifies the amount of damages sought, the plaintiff
“[C]ourts have generally held that a default judgment cannot
award additional damages ... because the defendant could not
In re Genesys Data Technologies, Inc., 204 F.3d 124,
determination of the sum to be awarded.”
Adkins v. Teseo, 180
Dynamics, Inc., 515 F.2d 801, 814 (2d Cir. 1975)); Au Bon Pain
Corp. v. Artect, Inc., 653 F.2d 61, 65 (2d Cir.1981)).
court may hold a hearing to consider evidence as to damages, but
it is not required to do so; it may rely instead on “detailed
affidavits or documentary evidence to determine the appropriate
Adkins, 180 F.Supp.2d at 17 (citing United Artists Corp.
Laborers’ District Council Pension, et al. v. E.G.S., Inc., Civ.
No. WDQ–09–3174, 2010 WL 1568595, at *3 (D.Md. Apr. 16, 2010)
Here, Judge Schulze limited Plaintiffs’ relief to the type
of damages case law had determined were available at the time of
Mr. Vitela’s default.
In doing so, she extended the rationale
explained in Pauta v. Aena Mechanical Corp., No. 11cv6374, 2014
WL 3855025, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 2014):
“By limiting damages to what is specified in
the ‘demand for judgment,’ [Rule 54(c)]
ensures that a defendant who is considering
default can look at the damages clause,
satisfy himself that he is willing to suffer
judgment in that amount, and then default
without the need to hire a lawyer.”
v. Merz, 510 F.3d 157, 160 (2d Cir.2007)
Notice of the damages
sought must “come before the decision to
default and be evident from the face of the
(emphasis in original).
Furthermore, “[c]ourts may award damages in the absence of an ad
damages do not depart from the type of relief sought in the
Pauta, 2014 WL 3855025, at *1; Braccia v. D'Blass
Corp., No. 08 Civ. 08927(LTS) (KNF), 2011 WL 2848146, at *6
(S.D.N.Y. June 13, 2011); Carrasco v. W. Vill. Ritz Corp., No.
11 Civ. 7843(DLC), 2012 WL 3822238, at *1–2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept.4,
Thus, Rule 54(c) only limits damages to the type sought
in the complaint and not to damages available at the time of
At the time judgment is entered, the court determines
Plaintiffs to the recovery of liquidated damages, rather than
Otherwise, the Report and Recommendation is
Accordingly, it is this 9th day of December, 2014, by the
Plaintiffs’ objection to the Report and Recommendation
BE, and the same hereby IS, SUSTAINED;
Plaintiffs are entitled to treble damages, rather than
merely liquidated damages;
Otherwise, the Report and Recommendation BE, and the
same hereby IS, ADOPTED;
Judgment BE, and the same hereby IS, ENTERED, against
Defendant Hector Vitela, in the total amount of $163,324.41,
consisting of: $44,501.62 in favor of Nelson Flores; $35,127.92
in favor of Fredys Lopez; $26,596.78 in favor of Jorge Llamas
Herrera; $17,750.23 in favor of Francis Umansor; $7,872.52 in
Martinez; plus $15,833 in attorneys’ fees, and $700.80 in costs
in favor of the Public Justice Center, Inc.; and
counsel for the parties.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?