Berrios v. Green Wireless, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 5/15/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
DIANA C. BERRIOS
Case No.: G.IH-I"-3655
GREEN WIRELESS, LLC, et al.
Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Diana C. Berrios' Motion to Vacate and
Reinstate. ECI' No. "0. requesting that the Court re-open the above-referenced case and allow
her elaims against two previously dismissed defendants. Green Wireless. LLC. ("Green
Wireless") and Michael Pak. to proceed. For the following reasons. Plaintiffs motion is granted.
A complete discussion of the factual and procedural background of this case can be !lllll1d
in the Court's prior opinions. See Berrios \'. Green Wireless. LLC. No. G.lII-14-3655. 2016 WL
1562902 (D. Md. Apr. 18. 2016) (hereinafter. "Consellt ./udg/1/ellt Opinion") and Berrios \'.
Green lVireless. LLC.. No. G.lII-14-3655. 2016 WL 7451297 (D. Md. Dec. 27. 2016)
Thus. thc Court will only discuss the tactual and
procedural details ncccssary to resolve the present motion.
Plaintiff tiled the Complaint against her employcrs Green Wirelcss. a cell phone and cell
phone plan provider: Shin. the owner and manager: and Pak. the co-manager. Eel' No. 29 at I.
2.1 The Complaint
alleged a failure to pay her overtimc
Act (""FLSA"). 29 U.S.C.
the C01ll1 approvcd
In the same opinion.
was filed as to all Defendants.
Thus, the Court dcnicd Plaintitrs
Wireless without prejudicc,
between Plaintiff and Shin. ECF No. 29.
Motion li,r Dcf~llIlt Judgment
within fourtecn days ofthc
as to Dcfendants
intcnds to prosccutc
with any modi tication for attorney
her claims as to the two rcmaining
On July 7. 2016. PlaintifT requested
fecs. is fully
claim for attorney's
that the Clerk "mark the judgmcnt
having bccn paid" but noting that because Plaintiffs
ECF No. 31 at I. Plaintiff f1ll1her stated that "in the event that this judgmcnt
Pak and Grecn
refile her motion against thc
hcr intention to dismiss the rcmaining
Motion for Attorncy's
Fecs was still
fees and cost had not bccn satisfied.
27. 2016. the Court awarded
from Green Wireless or Mr. Pak'" Id. at 6.
Plaintiff did not rcfilc thc motion. Instead. in a footnotc in her subscqucnt
ECF No. 18. On
thc Court statcd that "it is unclear whcther. in light of the scttlcmcnt
Mr. Shin, Plaintiff intends to seck additional
state laws. Id at I. On
201 eI self., and Maryland
Octobcr 22. 20 IS. a Motion fiJr Def~llIlt Judgmcnt
wages. in violation of the federal Fair
ECl' No. 34.
AI/omey's Fees Opinion. 2016 WL 7451297. at *5. In that same opinion, the Court
I'ak and Grccn Wircless.
stated its intent to dismiss thc remaining
1 Pin cites to documents
by that system.
claims against Dcfendants
Shin ... 1 and] [a Is that judgment
noting that ..thc
upon the satisfaction
has becn satisficd ... thc
liIed on the Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refer to the page numbers generated
rcmaining claims arc dismissed:' /d. On January 3. 2017. Dcfendant Shin appcaled the
AI/orne)' '.\'Fees Opinioll to the Unitcd States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. ECF No,
37. On January 5. 2017. Plainti ITliled a Motion to Vacate and Reinstate. requesting that thc
Court re-open the case and allow her previously dismissed claims against Defendants Pak and
Green Wireless to proceed. ECF No. 40,
moves Il)r the Court to vacate its December 27, 2016 order dismissing
Defendants Pak and Green Wirelcss. pursuant to eithcr Fcdcral Rulc of Civil Procedure 59(e) or
60(b), No responses havc becn filed by any of the Defendants in opposition to this motion.
As a threshold matter. the Court must determine whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear
this issue bccause its prior opinion in this case. the AI/orne)'
Fees Opinion. is on appeal to the
Fourth Circuit. "Generally. a timely tiled notice of appcal translers jurisdiction of a case to the
court of appeals and strips a district court of jurisdiction to rule on any matters involved in the
Puh, Ciri::ell. 749 F.3d 246. 258 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Gri~g.\'I'. Prol'ic!enr
COllsumer Disc, Co" 459 U.S. 56. 58 (1982)) (per curiam), "This rule fosters judicial economy
and guards against the confusion and inelliciency that would result if two courts simultaneously
were considering the same issues:' /d. (citation omitted). However ... the rule only applies to
prevent a trial court from taking actions that might duplicate or confuse issucs bcfore the
appellate court:' Crll/chjie/d \'.
Corps of En~ineers. 230 F. Supp. 2d 673. 680 (E.D.
Va. 2002). The following issues are on appeal: "(I) Did the District Court abuse its discretion in
declining to apply all of the
factors when determining the reasonableness of expended
hours and charged rates? [and] (2) Did the District Court abuse its discretion in linding that the
Appellce Diana Berrios was entitled to attorneys' lees and costs of $16.441.00 against Appellant
Michacl Shin'!""Bri4/iJr Appel/ani at 7. Berrios v. Shin. No. 17-1008 (4th Cir. Mar. 1.2017).
Thus. nothing that this Court decides with respect to the claims against the remaining
Defendants. Green Wireless and Pak. would duplicate or confuse issues before the Fourth
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize motions Ii.)r
reconsideration: Instead. Rule 59(e) authorizes a district court to alter. amend. or vacate a prior
judgment. and Rule 60 provides Ii.)rrelief from judgment. See Katyle v. Penn Nat 'I Gamin)!.. Inc..
637 FJd 462. 471 n. 4 (4th Cir. 2011). "A motion to alter or amend liled within 28 days of the
judgment is analyzed under Rule 59(e): if the motion is tiled later. Rule 60(b) controls."' Cross v.
Fleet Reserve Ass'n Pension Plan. No. 05-0001. 2010 WL 3609530. at *2 (D. Md. Sept. 14.
2010). Here. Plaintiff tiled her motion nine days alier the entry of judgment. Thus. while
PlaintilT purports to bring her motion under both rules. the Court will analyze her claim undcr thc
framework of Rule 59(c).
Rule 59(e) allows a party to tile a motion to alter or amend ajudgment no later than 28
days alier the entry of the judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e): see also Ford v. United States. No.
2016 WL 3430673. at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 16.2016). One purpose of Rule 59(e) is to
"permit[j a district court to correct its own errors. 'sparing the parties and the appellate courts the
burden of unnecessary appellate proceedings .... Pac. Ins. Co. \'. Am. Nat. Fire Ins. Co .. 148 F,3d
396.403 (4th Cir. 19(8), However. the Fourth Circuit recognizes only three grounds on which a
court may alter or amend an earlier judgment: ..( I) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law: (2) to account Ii.)rncw cvidence not availablc at trial: or (3) to correct a clear
error of law or prevent manifest injustice."' United States ex ref. Becker \'. lVestin)!.hollse
Savannah Ri\'er Co.. 305 F.3d 284. 290 (4th Cir. 20(2) (citing Pac. Ins. Co. \'. Am. Nat'! Fire
CO .. 148 F.3d 396.403 (4th Cir. 1998». "Clear error or manifest injustiee occurs where a
court 'has patently misunderstood a party. or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues
presented to the Court by the parties. or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension
...... Wagller v. Wart/ell. No. ELH-14-791. 2016 WL 1169937. at *3 (D. Md. Mar. 24. 2(16)
(quoting Killg v. McFaddell. No. I:14-cv-00091-JMC. 2015 WL 4937292. at *2 (D.S.C. Aug.
Here. Plaintiff requests that the Court vacate its prior judgement because "the Court's
rationale for dismissing Plaintiffs claims against Green Wireless and MichaelPak [was]
premised on an incomplete reading ofPlaintifrs
Fee Petition:' ECF No. 40 at 3. In their Motion
for Altorney's Fees. Plaintiff stated their intention to dismiss the remaining defendants "ifthis
judgmcnt [against Defendant Shinjo along with any modification
for attorney fees. is fully
satisfied:' ECF No. 31 at I (emphasis added). In its prior opinion. the Court. observing that the
$3.000.00 judgement had been satislied. dismissed the remaining claims against Defendants Pak
and Green Wireless. Alfol'l7ey 's Fees Opillioll. 2016 WL 7451297. at *5. Therefore. PlaintitT is
correct that thc Court misunderstood Plaintifrs intentions and failed to recognize that Plaintiff
intended to dismiss the remaining claims only alier judgement had a/so been satisfied as to the
As the Court's underlying decision regarding altorney"s fees is still under appeal.
judgment has not been fully satisfied against Defendant Shin. Thus. the Court finds that it was
clear error to dismiss the claims against Defendants Green Wireless and Pak. Furthermore. the
Court notes that Plaintiffs
Motion has been made without objection by any of the Defendants.
Thus. the COlll1will alter its judgment and permit the claims against Defendants Green Wireless
and Pak to proceed.
However, this does not signify that the Court will allow this case to languish. The Court
therefore orders Plaintiff to either move for default judgment as to Defendants Green Wireless
and Pak, or request a stay in the proceedings pending the resolution of the on-going appeal
within fourteen days of the accompanying Order.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintifl's Motion to Vacate Judgment. ECF No. 40, shall be
granted. A separate Order follows.
GEORGE J. HAZEL
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?