Waller v. Blast Fitness Group, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER...IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion for default judgment against Defendants is GRANTED on the issue of liability. (Doc. No. 48 .) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a hearing on the issue of damages is set for Thursday, Jun e 30, 2016, at 3:00 p.m., in courtroom 12S. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail a copy of this Order to Defendants, at the address reflected in the file. ( In Court Hearing set for 6/30/2016 03:00 PM in Courtroom 12S before District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig.) Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 6/10/2016. (NEB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BLAST FITNESS GROUP, LLC, et al.,
Case No. 4:15CV00586 AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This diversity matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment
against Defendants Blast Fitness Group, LLC; Blast Fitness Group Personal Training,
LLC; Blast Fitness Acquisition, LLC; and Edgar Thompson, on his claims for sexual
harassment and hostile work environment in violation of the Missouri Human Right Act
(“MHRA”). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s motion will be granted in part and
denied in part.
Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that “Blast Fitness Group owns and operates
health club facilities under the trade name Blast Fitness” and that the corporate Defendants
“were doing business jointly and in concert with each other as ‘Blast Fitness,’ which is a
health club located [on Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, Missouri, where the] unlawful
employment acts took place.” (Doc. No. 3 at ¶¶ 6, 11.) Thompson was the regional
manager of a region that included that facility.
Plaintiff alleges the following in his complaint, which the Court accepts as true for
the purposes of the motion under consideration: On February 10 or 11, 2013, he signed a
gym membership with “Defendants” at their health club on Dorsett Road, and was asked
by the general manager of the facility, if he still wanted a job pursuant to an employment
application he had completed in 2012. Plaintiff interviewed for the position on February
12, 2013, and was offered the job “on the spot” by Thompson. The next day, Thompson
called Plaintiff and told him to “bring his paperwork in,” which Plaintiff did
“immediately.” On February 21, 2013, after not hearing about his start date, Plaintiff
texted Thompson to try to get a start date for his employment with “Defendants.”
Thompson asked him some sexually explicit questions and when Plaintiff told Thompson
he needed a job, Thompson told Plaintiff that he would get the job only in return for sexual
Plaintiff did not accede, but rather on February 27, 2013, filed a charge of sexual
harassment and retaliation with the Missouri Human Rights Commission and the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. Plaintiff listed the discriminating employer as
“Blast Fitness” on Dorsett Road. (Doc. No. 11-2.) Upon receipt of a right-to-sue letter,
Plaintiff filed the present action claiming in Count I, sexual harassment in violation of the
Missouri Human Right Act (“MHRA”). He alleges that all Defendants “failed to prevent
and/or stop the sexual harassment of Plaintiff.” In Count II Plaintiff asserts a hostile work
environment claim under the MHRA against all Defendants. On October 5, 2015, the
Clerk of Court entered default against the four Defendants named above.1
Plaintiff now seeks default judgment against the defaulted Defendants in the
amount of $1,000,000 in actual damages and $1,500,000 in punitive damages. He has
submitted a “Wage Loss Calculation” showing alleged lost wages of $24, 268.97 from
February 16, 2013, to the date of the filing of the motion for default judgment, due to his
intermittent employment during that period. The calculation is based on Plaintiff’s
presumed earnings during this period had he been hired by Defendants at $8.75/hour for 40
hours a week.
Where default has been entered, the allegations of the complaint are taken as true,
except as to the amount of damages, and “the defendant has no further standing to contest
the merits of the plaintiff’s right to recover.” Brown v. Kenron Aluminum & Glass Corp.,
477 F.2d 526, 531 (8th Cir. 1973). It then “remains for the court to consider whether the
unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause of action, since a party in default does not
admit mere conclusions of law.” Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 871 (8th Cir. 2010).
Here, taking Plaintiff’s allegations in his complaint as true, except for those
allegations as to the amount of damages, the Court concludes that Plaintiff is entitled to
default judgment against the defaulted Defendants on the claim of quid pro quo sexual
harassment in his failure to be hired. See Fuchs v. Dep’t of Revenue, 447 S.W.3d 727,
731-32 (Mo. Ct. App. 2014) (stating that under the MHRA a claim of quid pro quo
Other claims and parties are no longer part of the case.
discriminatory harassment involves an adverse employment action that is carried out);
Cross v. Cleaver, 142 F.3d 1059, 1073 (8th Cir. 1998) (explaining that under Title VII and
the MHRA when a supervisor requires sexual favors as a quid pro quo for job benefits, the
supervisor, by definition, acts as the company subjecting the company to liability).
Because Plaintiff was never hired, a hostile work environment claim separate from the quid
pro quo claim fails.
“Once the entry of a default establishes the fact of damage, the trial judge . . . has
considerable latitude in determining the amount of damages.” Stavenger v. Jay Ryan
Enters., Inc., No. CIV. 07-3514 ADMRLE, 2008 WL 906794, at *1 (D. Minn. Apr. 3,
2008) (quoting Jones v. Winnepesaukee Realty, 990 F.2d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 1993)). The need
for an evidentiary hearing on damages on a default judgment is also within the sound
discretion of the district court. Stephenson v. El-Batrawi, 524 F.3d 907, 916 (8th Cir.
Here Plaintiff’s evidence showing that he suffered actual damages in the amount
of $1,000,000 due to Defendants’ failure to hire him is clearly deficient. Upon review of
the record, the Court concludes that an evidentiary hearing on the issue of damages must be
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against
Defendants is GRANTED on the issue of liability. (Doc. No. 48.)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a hearing on the issue of damages is set for
Thursday, June 30, 2016, at 3:00 p.m., in courtroom 12S.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail a copy of this
Order to Defendants, at the address reflected in the file.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 10th day of June, 2016.
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