United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
GLENDA KNOX, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HAPPY CAB, LLC and STACEY R. DIXON, Defendants.
GODBEY WOOD JUDGE.
Matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Glenda Knox's
Motion for Default Judgment (Dkt. No. 9) against Defendants
Happy Cab, LLC ("Happy Cab") and Stacey R. Dixon.
Upon due consideration, this Motion is GRANTED, and a hearing
is set for December 20, 2017 at 10:00am to determine the
amount of damages.
to the allegations of the Complaint, Knox was employed by
Happy Cab as a dispatcher in St. Marys, Georgia, in Camden
County. Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 7. Dixon is a corporate officer of
Happy Cab, exercising operational control over its
activities. Id. ¶ 9. As owner and acting
manager of Happy Cab, Dixon has the power to hire and fire
Knox, supervise and control her work schedule, determine her
rate and method of payment, and maintain employment records.
Id. ¶ 11. Defendants provide a mode of
passenger transportation from portal to portal for patrons
for a fee. Id. ¶ 21.
hired Plaintiff, and she provided rapid transportation
response to customer requests within a designated coverage
area. Id. ¶ 22. As part of her job, Plaintiff
was required to arrive at Defendants' place of business
to perform services, including assisting drivers with
directions to customers' pick-up locations and navigating
them through traffic. Id. ¶ 23. Plaintiff
alleges that she typically worked over sixty hours per week
and that she was not paid minimum wage or overtime.
Id. SI 24. She worked as a dispatcher for Happy Cab
from May 2016 through November 2016, earning $88.00 per day.
Id. ¶¶ 26-27. Defendants never paid her at
a rate of time and one-half her regular rate for hours worked
in excess of forty in a workweek, she alleges. Id.
¶ 30. In a putative class action, Plaintiff brought
claims for violations of the minimum wage and overtime
provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA")
against Happy Cab and Dixon under 29 U.S.C. §§ 206,
sued on March 6, 2017. Dkt. No. 1. She issued Summons to
Happy Cab and Dixon on March 7 and 9, 2017, respectively.
Dkt. Nos. 4, 5. The server verified that he served Dixon on
behalf of Happy Cab on March 11, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. and that
he served Dixon personally at the same date and time. Dkt.
No. 6-1. Dixon is Happy Cab's registered agent for
service. On May 31, 2017, Knox moved for an entry of default,
which the clerk entered. Dkt. Nos. 7, 8. On July 12, 2017,
Knox moved for a default judgment against Happy Cab and
Dixon. Dkt. No. 9.
may enter a default judgment when a party fails to timely
respond to a claim for affirmative relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55.
Before entering a default judgment for damages, the Court
"must ensure that the well-pleaded allegations in the
complaint, which are taken as true due to the default,
actually state a substantive cause of action and that there
is a substantive, sufficient basis in the pleadings for the
particular relief sought." Tyco Fire & Sec, LLC
v. Alcocer, 218 Fed.Appx. 860, 863 (11th Cir. 2007) (per
curiam); see also Cotton v. Mass. Mut. Life Ins.
Co., 402 F.3d 1267, 1277-78 (11th Cir. 2005). A default
is not "an absolute confession by the defendant of his
liability and of the plaintiff's right to recover, "
but is instead merely "an admission of the facts cited
in the Complaint . . . ." Pitts ex rel. Pitts v.
Seneca Sports, Inc., 321 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1357 (S.D. Ga.
2004).M%[T]he court, in its discretion, may
require some proof of facts that must be established in order
to determine liability.'" Wooten v. McDonald
Transit Ass., Inc., 788 F.3d 490, 496 (5th Cir. 2015)
(quoting 10A Charles A. Wright et al., Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2688 (3d ed. 1998)).
allegations relating to damages suffered ordinarily are not
accepted as true. Wehrs v. Wells, 688 F.3d 886, 892
(7th Cir. 2012). Rather, "[d]amages must be
proved unless they are liquidated or capable of
calculation." Id. (quoting Merrill Lynch
Mortg. Corp. v. Narayan, 908 F.2d 246, 253 (7th Cir.
1990)). It is the Court's duty to "determine both
the amount and character of damages." PNCEF, LLC v.
Hendricks Bldg. Supply LLC, 740 F.Supp.2d 1287, 1292
(S.D. Ala.- 2010) (quoting Virgin Records Am., Inc. v.
Lacey, 510 F.Supp.2d 588, 593 n. 5 (S.D. Ala. 2007).
Even in the default judgment context,
''[a] court has an obligation to assure
that there is a legitimate basis for any damage award it
enters." Anheuser Busch, Inc. v. Philpot, 317
F.3d 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2003).
considering a default judgment, the Court must examine (1)
jurisdiction, (2) liability, and (3) damages. See
Pitts, 321 F.Supp.2d at 1356. The Court will take up
each in turn.
Court cannot enter default judgment against Happy Cab and
Dixon unless it has personal jurisdiction over them and
subject matter jurisdiction over the case. Here, the
Complaint alleges that Happy Cab is a Georgia corporation
that has its headquarters in Camden County, Georgia. Dkt. No.
1 ¶ 8. Place of incorporation is a
'''paradig[m]' bas[i]s for the exercise of
general jurisdiction." Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 924 (2011).
What is more, Happy Cab was served in Georgia through its
registered agent for service of process, further establishing
its personal jurisdiction in Georgia. Dkt. No. 6-1; see
Burnham v. Superior Court of Cal., Cnty. of Marin, 495
U.S. 604 (1990) (holding valid and constitutional the
exercise of personal jurisdiction over corporate defendant
through service of process within the forum state). This
Court has personal jurisdiction over Happy Cab.
same is true for Dixon. She was personally served with
process in Georgia and is subject to personal jurisdiction
here, . regardless of whether she ...