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Rojas v. Willie's Woodworking, LLC

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

September 30, 2019

ADAN DELGADO ROJAS, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE'S WOODWORKING, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, and DALE MCCLEARY, an individual. Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          MUSTAFA T. KASUBHAI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 55(b), Plaintiff Adan Delgado Rojas (“Plaintiff”) moves to enter default judgment against Defendants Dale McCleary and Willie's Woodworking, LLC (the “LLC”) (collectively, “Defendants”). For the reasons set forth below, this Court should grant Plaintiff's motion for default judgment and enter judgment accordingly.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brought this action on June 26, 2018, and Defendants received personal service on July 23, 2018. ECF Nos. 1, 5. On November 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Motion for Entry of Default pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). ECF No. 8. The motion was served on Defendants by electronic mail and United States mail on November 13 and 19, 2018, respectively. ECF No. 10. Defendants have failed to file any responsive pleadings or otherwise defend within 60 days of receiving the waiver request, and that failure is shown by declaration. See Johnson Decl. ¶ 7 (ECF No. 9). The clerk granted Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default on November 20, 2018. ECF No. 11. On Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment, the Court conducted a hearing for accounting. ECF Nos. 12, 15, & 25. Prior to the hearing, Plaintiff filed his Amended Memorandum and Declaration in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. ECF Nos. 21, 22.

         Plaintiff alleges the following. Plaintiff was hired by Defendants in January 2016 to work as a carpenter at an hourly rate of $25.00. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 3, & 32 (ECF No. 1). At all material times, Defendants operated a commercial and residential custom woodworking and finish carpentry business. Id. at ¶ 24. The LLC's annual gross sales volume was in excess of $500, 000. Id. at ¶ 26. Plaintiff was classified as a W-2 employee. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 12. Defendants directed and controlled Plaintiff's work and assigned him tasks. Id. at ¶ 2. These tasks were either directly or indirectly in the interest of Defendants. Id. at ¶ 27. As a condition of employment, Plaintiff was required to pay all fuel, automobile insurance, and maintenance expenses. Id. at ¶ 35. Plaintiff claims he was unpaid for regular working hours, overtime, and business expenses from June 2016 to October 2016 and from April 2017 to May 2017. Id. at ¶¶ 9, 39, & 42. He seeks relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Oregon wage and hour laws. See Id. at 1.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A defendant must file a responsive pleading within twenty-one (21) days of being served or within sixty (60) days if the defendant has timely waived service under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(d). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(a)(1)(A). If the defendant fails to file a responsive pleading or defend (as shown by affidavit or otherwise), the clerk must enter the defendant's default. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a).

         The district court has broad discretion to enter a default judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b); Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980); Televideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915, 917 (9th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (“Rule 55 gives the court considerable leeway as to what it may require as a prerequisite to the entry of a default judgment.”).

         When considering an entry of a default judgment the courts consider:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim, (3) the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts; (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits.

Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted).

         When considering a default judgment, the court may generally take the factual allegations of the complaint as true, other than those relating to the amount of damages. TeleVideo Sys., 826 F.2d at 917-18 (citation omitted); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b)(6). The court is not bound to admit facts that are not well-pleaded or admit conclusions of law. DIRECTV, Inc. v. Hoa Huynh, 503 F.3d 847, 854 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Nishimatsu Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975)). A claim is well-pleaded “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A hearing or referral may be held to conduct an accounting, determine damages, establish the veracity of allegations through evidence, or investigate any other matter. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Entry of Default Judgment

         This Court examines the seven factors laid out in Eitel and generally takes the factual allegations as true other than those relating to damages.

         a. Factors 1, 5, and 7

         As the Court found in the previous Opinion and Order, refusal to grant default judgment would be prejudicial to Plaintiff because Plaintiff would have no other avenue to collect the unpaid regular and overtime wages. Op. and Order 4 (ECF No. 15). There does not appear to be a material dispute concerning the hourly rate of $25 and Defendants' failure to compensate Plaintiff. Id. at 5. Upon Plaintiff's submission of an accounting sufficient enough to enter a default judgment, the seventh ...


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