United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
LIBERATO VENTURA, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated. Plaintiff,
PROFESSIONAL FRAME AND HOME and WILLIAM LINARES, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Liberato Ventura's Motion for
Final Default Judgment (Doc. 8), filed on May 1, 2019. For
the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES without
prejudice Plaintiff's Motion for Final Default
Judgment (Doc. 8) and DENIES as moot
Plaintiff's Motion to Extend Time to Supplement the
Record (Doc. 12).
originally filed this suit against Defendants Professional
Frame and Home and William Linares (collectively,
“Defendants”) on October 8, 2018, for overtime
wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Doc. 1, Pl.'s Compl. Plaintiff alleges that he was
employed by Defendants as a carpenter from approximately
January 20, 2015, through August 10, 2018. Id.
¶ 9. During that time, Plaintiff alleges that he worked
an average of sixty-five hours per week but never received
overtime pay for the time he worked in excess of forty hours
per week as required by 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1).
Id. ¶¶ 8, 14. Plaintiff further claims
that Defendants willfully and intentionally refused to pay
him overtime wages, and Plaintiff now seeks to recover
damages under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Id.
¶¶ 6, 15.
were served with the Summons and Complaint on December 20,
2018. Docs. 5-6, Returns of Service. Despite having received
process, Defendants failed to answer or otherwise respond in
the time allowed. On May 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed a combined
request for Entry of Default by the Clerk and a Motion for
Final Default Judgment (Doc. 8). The Clerk of the Court
entered a default against Defendants on May 1, 2019. Doc. 9,
Clerk's Entry of Default. Plaintiff's present Motion
asks the Court to enter a default judgment in his favor and
to award him $55, 500.00 or alternatively $69, 375.00 in
total damages (depending on whether the statute of
limitations applied), plus attorney's fees. Doc. 8,
Pl.'s Mot. for Default J., ¶ 7. Defendants once
again failed to respond to Plaintiff's Motion, and the
time to do so has passed. The Court now considers whether
default judgment is proper in this case.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes federal
courts to enter a default judgment against a defendant who
has failed to plead or otherwise defend a complaint.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a)-(b). Nevertheless, default judgments are
disfavored by the Federal Rules and should be resorted to
only in extreme circumstances. Sun Bank of Ocala v.
Pelican Homestead & Sav. Ass'n, 874 F.2d 274,
276 (5th Cir. 1989). A party is not entitled to a default
judgment as a matter of right even when the defendant is
technically in default. Ganther v. Ingle, 75 F.3d
207, 212 (5th Cir. 1996). Rather, the decision to issue a
default judgment is “committed to the discretion of the
district judge.” Lewis v. Lynn, 236 F.3d 766,
767 (5th Cir. 2001) (quoting Mason v. Lister, 562
F.2d 343, 345 (5th Cir. 1977)). In considering a motion for
default judgment, courts accept as true the well-pleaded
allegations of fact in the complaint. Nishimatsu Constr.
Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th
have developed a three-part analysis to determine whether a
default judgment should be entered against a defendant.
Vickers v. Luschak, 2018 WL 3036559, at *1 (N.D.
Tex. June 19, 2018) (Boyle, J.) (citing United States v.
1998 Freightliner Vin #: 1FUYCZYB3WP886986, 548
F.Supp.2d 381, 384 (W.D. Tex. 2008)). First, courts must
consider whether entry of default judgment is procedurally
appropriate under the circumstances. See Lindsey v. Prive
Corp., 161 F.3d 886, 893 (5th Cir. 1998). The relevant
factors to consider include: (1) whether material issues of
fact exist; (2) whether there has been substantial prejudice;
(3) whether the grounds for default are clearly established;
(4) whether the default was caused by a good faith mistake or
excusable neglect; (5) the harshness of a default judgment;
and (6) whether the court would think itself obliged to set
aside the default on the defendant's motion. Id.
courts assess the substantive merits of the plaintiff's
claims to determine whether there is a sufficient basis in
the pleadings for the judgment. Nishimatsu, 515 F.2d
at 1206. Courts are to assume that a defendant admits to all
well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's complaint due to
its default. Id. However, “[t]he defendant is
not held to admit facts that are not well-pleaded or to admit
conclusions of law.” Id.
courts determine “what form of relief, if any, the
[plaintiff] should receive.” 1998
Freightliner, 548 F.Supp.2d at 384. Although “[a]
defendant's default concedes the truth of the allegations
of the Complaint concerning the defendant's liability,
” the same is not true for damages. Ins. Co. of the
W. v. H & G Contractors, Inc., 2011 WL 4738197, at
*4 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 5, 2011) (citing Jackson v. FIE
Corp., 302 F.3d 515, 524-25 (5th Cir. 2002)). Normally,
damages are not to be awarded without a hearing or a
demonstration by detailed affidavits establishing the
necessary facts. See United Artists Corp. v.
Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979). But if the
amount of damages can be determined with mathematical
calculation by reference to the pleadings and supporting
documents, a hearing is unnecessary. James v. Frame,
6 F.3d 307, 310 (5th Cir. 1993).