United States District Court, D. New Jersey
LIU HANG & ASSOCIATES PLLC On behalf of Plaintiff
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
before the Court is the motion of Plaintiff for default
judgment in his favor on his claims against Defendants
concerning Defendants' failure to pay him the proper
regular and overtime wages in violation of the Federal Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq., and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law
(“NJWHL”), N.J.S.A. 34:11-56 et seq. For the
reasons expressed below, Plaintiff's motion will be
to his complaint,  from March 23, 2016 to August 14, 2016,
Plaintiff, Qu Wang, was employed as a delivery worker by
Defendant Fu Leen Meng Restaurant Limited Liability Company
d/b/a Fu Leen Meng, a Chinese restaurant. Plaintiff claims
that he worked six days a week with Wednesdays off totaling
73 hours per week. Monday through Thursday and on Sunday,
Plaintiff worked from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for twelve
hours each day without break; on Friday and Saturday,
Plaintiff worked from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. for thirteen
hours without break. Plaintiff claims that throughout his
employment, he was paid by cash at a fixed rate of $1, 400
per month regardless of the actual hours he worked. Plaintiff
also claims that he was never reimbursed for “tools of
the trade” expenses related to making deliveries,
including $900 he spent on vehicle maintenance.
alleges that the owners and operators of Fu Leen Meng,
Defendants Jian Shao, Lewen Shao, and Yan Ying Shao,
knowingly and willfully operated their business with a policy
of not paying him the proper minimum wage and the proper
overtime wage, and by not reimbursing him for his
“tools of the trade” expenses, in violation of
the FLSA and NJWHL.
filed his complaint on November 23, 2016, and it was served
on Defendants on December 6, 2016. Defendants failed to
appear in the action, and the Clerk entered default at
Plaintiff's request on June 21, 2017. Thereafter,
Plaintiff filed the instant motion for default judgment,
seeking judgment for unpaid wages and an equal amount in the
form of liquidated damages, as well as reasonable
attorney's fees and costs of the action.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has original federal question jurisdiction over this
controversy under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, and has supplemental jurisdiction over the New
Jersey state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
first step in obtaining a default judgment is the entry of
default. “When a party against whom a judgment for
affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise
defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise,
the Clerk must enter the party's default.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). The Clerk entered default against
Defendants on June 21, 2017.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) authorizes courts to enter a
default judgment against a properly served defendant who
fails to a file a timely responsive pleading.”
Chanel v. Gordashevsky, 558 F.Supp.2d 532, 535
(D.N.J. 2008) (citing Anchorage Assoc. v. Virgin Is. Bd.
of Tax Rev., 922 F.2d 168, 177 n.9 (3d Cir. 1990)).
However, a party seeking default judgment “is not
entitled to a default judgment as of a right.”
Franklin v. Nat'l Maritime Union of America,
1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9819, at *3-4 (D.N.J. 1991) (quoting 10
Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 2685 (1983)), aff'd, 972 F.2d 1331 (3d
Cir. 1992). The decision to enter a default judgment is
“left primarily to the discretion of the district
court.” Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178,
1180 (3d Cir. 1984).
every “well-pled allegation” of the complaint,
except those relating to damages, are deemed admitted,
Comdyne I. Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d
Cir. 1990), before entering a default judgment the Court must
decide whether “the unchallenged facts constitute a
legitimate cause of action, since a party in default does not
admit mere conclusions of law, ” Chanel, 558
F.Supp.2d at 535 (citing Directv, Inc. v. Asher, No.
03-1969, 2006 WL 680533, at *1 (D.N.J. Mar. 14, 2006)).
“Three factors control whether a default judgment
should be granted: (1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default
is denied, (2) whether the defendant appears to have a
litigable defense, and (3) whether defendant's delay is
due to culpable conduct.” Chamberlain v.
Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000); United
States v. $55, 518.05 in U.S. Currency, 728 F.2d 192,
195 (3d Cir. 1984). If a review of the complaint demonstrates
a valid cause of action, the Court must then determine
whether plaintiff is entitled to default judgment.
Whether Plaintiff has ...