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Dinh v. Weruntexas, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

August 26, 2019

MONICA DINH, et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
WERUNTEXAS, LLC; dba MERCY, WE RUN HOU, LLC; dba ENGINE ROOM, et al, Defendants.

          ORDER

          The Honorable Alfred H. Bennett United States District Judge.

         Plaintiffs bring this case against Defendants WeRunTexas, LLC d/b/a Mercy ("Mercy Nightclub"), Mojeed Martins, Jonathan Reitzell and Steven Rogers for failure to pay wages and failure to pay minimum wage pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").

         On April 24, 2019, this Court held a non-jury trial in the above-entitled matter. During the proceeding, the Court received evidence and heard sworn testimony from Rosana Turbay (former cocktail waitress and cocktail manager for Mercy Nightclub), Khirstie Matta, Kimberley Kolbye, Monica Dinh, Alexandra LeBlanc, and Danielle Henderson (former cocktail waitresses for Mercy Nightclub), John Caravello (former General Manager of Mercy Nightclub), Steven Rogers, Mojeed Martins, and Johnathan Reitzell (former owners of Mercy Nightclub and former members of WeRunTexas, LLC).

         Having considered the evidence, testimony and oral arguments presented during the trial, and applicable law, the Court now enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a). The specific findings of fact and conclusions of law are set out below. Any finding of fact that should be construed as a conclusion of law is hereby adopted as such. Any conclusion of law that should be construed as a finding of fact is hereby adopted as such.

         I. Findings of Fact

         1. Mercy Nightclub employed Plaintiffs during the timeframe of October 2016 until February 2017 (the "Relevant Time Period).

         2. Defendant WeRunTexas, LLC had ownership interest in Mercy Nightclub beginning October 2016 and during the Relevant Time Period.

         3. Steven Rogers, Mojeed Martins, and Johnathan Reitzell ("Club Owners") were the members of WeRunTexas, LLC during the Relevant Time Period.

         4. Plaintiffs presented documents that revealed Mercy Nightclub's net total sales were approximately $11, 000 to $39, 000 per Week.[1] Based upon weekly net sales numbers, Mercy Nightclub netted over $500, 000 annually. Defendants presented no evidence to rebut the documents presented by Plaintiffs.

         5. There was no witness or document which provided evidence that out-of-state goods or services were exchanged through Mercy Nightclub.

         6. The Club Owners hired a general manager, John Caravello, to run the day-to-day operations of Mercy Nightclub.[2]

         7. The general manager (John Caravello) End two cocktail managers (Tanner Cox and Rosana Turbay) supervised the cocktail waitresses during the Relevant Time Period.[3]Rosana Turbay was hired by John Caravello, and Tanner Cox was hired by the Club Owners.[4]

         8. Scheduling and duties were assigned to the cocktail waitresses by John Caravello and the cocktail managers.[5] John Caravello set the club operating hours and the required number of cocktail waitresses necessary to staff Mercy Nightclub and provided this information to the cocktail managers who in turn communicated staffing needs and schedules to the cocktail waitresses.[6]

         9. Plaintiffs' job duties as cocktail waitresses included greeting guests, seating guests at tables, servicing guests' drink orders, monitoring consumption of alcohol, handling guests' inquiries, handling payments, reporting to management, and cleaning and setting up tables at Mercy Nightclub.[7]

         10. John Caravello and the cocktail managers supervised the cocktail waitresses during the day-to-day operations of Mercy Nightclub John Caravello and the cocktail managers had control over the staff at Mercy Nightclub-cocktail waitresses reported to John Caravello and the cocktail managers while working at Mercy Nightclub.[8]

         11. John Caravello and the cocktail managers determined the rate of pay and the tips to be paid to the staff each night. The cocktail managers kept notes each work night to determine the cash earned and the tip amounts paid to cocktail waitresses at Mercy Nightclub.[9] John Caravello prepared weekly financial reports for the Club Owners.[10]

         12. Pay checks were distributed to the cocktail waitresses by the cocktail manager-Tanner Cox. Tanner Cox wrote in the amounts that the cocktail waitresses earned, and Club Owner Steven Rogers signed the pay checks.[11]

         13. During the Super Bowl 2017 work schedule, the price per bottle of alcohol sold by cocktail waitresses and tips were communicated to the cocktail waitresses by John ...


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