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Domineck v. One Stop Auto Shop, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

September 17, 2014

DEANTHONY DOMINECK, Plaintiff,
v.
ONE STOP AUTO SHOP, INC., Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS W. THRASH, Jr., District Judge.

This is an FLSA action for unpaid overtime. It is before the Court on the Defendant's Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment [Doc. 14] and the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 13]. For the reasons set forth below, the Defendant's Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment [Doc. 14] is GRANTED and the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 13] is DENIED.

I. Background

From 2005 to 2012, the Plaintiff Deanthony Domineck was a "tire shop technician" for the Defendant One Stop Auto Shop, Inc.[1] The Plaintiff alleges that during his final three years of employment, he often worked in excess of forty hours per week but did not receive overtime pay.[2] The Plaintiff brought suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") claiming that he was improperly classified as "exempt" under the FLSA, and thus wrongfully denied overtime pay. The Defendant initially failed to file any motion or response pleading, and so the Court granted the Plaintiff's Motion for a Default Judgment on February 8, 2013.[3] The default judgment was then entered on February 11, 2013.[4] The Defendant now moves the Court to set aside the default judgment, and to dismiss the Plaintiff's claim.

II. Legal Standard

A. Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment

Under FED. R. CIV. P. 55(c), the Court "may set aside an entry of default for good cause, and it may set aside a default judgment under Rule 60(b)." The term "good cause" is not "susceptible to a precise formula."[5] It "is a mutable standard, varying from situation to situation... [and] a liberal one - but not so elastic as to be devoid of substance."[6] To determine whether "good cause" has been shown, courts often consider: "(a) whether the default was culpable or willful; (b) whether setting it aside would prejudice the adversary, (c) whether the defaulting party presents a meritorious defense; (d) whether there was significant financial loss to the defaulting party; and (e) whether the defaulting party acted promptly to correct the default."[7]

Further, under FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b), "[o]n motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief."

B. Motion to Dismiss

A plaintiff may survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) if the factual allegations in the Complaint give rise to a plausible claim for relief.[8] For a claim to be plausible, the supporting factual matter must establish more than a mere possibility that the plaintiff is entitled to relief.[9] In determining whether a plaintiff has met this burden, the Court must assume all of the factual allegations in the Complaint to be true. The Court, however, need not accept as true any legal conclusions found in the Complaint.[10]

III. Discussion

A. Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment

The Defendant claims that, under Rule 60(b)(4), the default judgment must be set aside because it is void. In support, the Defendant first argues that the Court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the Plaintiff's FLSA claim because the Defendant is not subject to the FLSA's overtime requirement. The FLSA states that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided in [29 U.S.C. § 207], no employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is [1] engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce [individual coverage], or [2] is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce [enterprise coverage], for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed."[11] The Defendant argues that neither the individual nor the enterprise coverage provisions are applicable here, and so the Plaintiff has failed to satisfy the "commerce requirement" of 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). The Court concludes that the Defendant's argument is an attack on the merits of the Plaintiff's claim, not on this Court's jurisdiction to entertain it.

The "basic statutory grants of federal-court subject-matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332."[12] Section 1331 "provides for [f]ederal-question' jurisdiction" and a "plaintiff properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a colorable claim arising under' the Constitution or laws of the United States."[13] Congress, however, can certainly impose further limitations on federal-question jurisdiction.[14] Congress, for example, could have made the commerce requirement "jurisdictional, ' just as it has made an ...


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