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Tapia v. Mateo

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 31, 2015

MARIA TAPIA, JESUS TAPIA, ELIZABETH DIAZ, AND THOMAS RUGELIO, PlaintiffS,
v.
MAYRON MATEO AND K.E.R. CLEANING SERVICES, INC., Defendants

For Maria Tapia, Jesus Tapia, Elizabeth Diaz, Thomas Rugelio, Plaintiffs: James Bhandary-Alexander, LEAD ATTORNEY, New Haven Legal Assistance Assoc. Inc., New Haven, CT.

Page 2

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT [Dkt. #16] AND AWARDING PLAINTIFFS DAMAGES

Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, Maria Tapia, Jesú s Tapia, Elizabeth Diaz (" Diaz" ) and Thomas Rugelio (" Rugelio" ), bring claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (the " FLSA" ) and the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-58, et seq. (the " CMWA" ) against Defendants Mayron Mateo (" Mateo" ) and K.E.R. Cleaning Services (" KER" ) for unpaid wages. Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND

On February 27, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint. See [Dkt. #1]. The Complaint alleges the following facts. Plaintiffs, Connecticut residents, were hired by the Defendants to clean one of two Cinemark movie theaters.

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[ Id. at ¶ ¶ 4, 8-9, 16, 22]. During the course of their employment, Defendant KER, a Florida company, hired, paid, supervised, and scheduled Plaintiffs. [ Id. at ¶ 6]. Mateo, KER's President and CEO, made all relevant decisions regarding hiring and firing, payment of wages, scheduling, and work duties of the Plaintiffs. [ Id. at ¶ 7]. Mateo made regular visits to Connecticut, employed dozens of workers in Connecticut, and oversaw Plaintiffs' work in the two Cinemark theaters. [ Id.].

Plaintiffs Maria and Jesú s Tapia were hired to clean the Cinemark movie theater in North Haven, Connecticut. [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 8-9]. Upon their hiring, Defendants agreed to pay each a flat rate of $40 per day. [ Id. at ¶ 10]. Plaintiffs cleaned the theater seven days a week. [ Id.]. During September 2012, Maria Tapia was not paid for a two-week period, during which she worked her normal, daily, schedule. [ Id. at ¶ 11]. In October 2013, both Maria and Jesú s Tapia were not fully compensated for their labor. [ Id. at ¶ 12]. For a sixteen-day period in October 2013, they were each paid only $600, when they each should have been paid $640. [ Id.]. Finally, neither Maria nor Jesú s Tapia was compensated for their final twenty-five days of work, despite their repeated requests for payment. [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 13-14]. After they refused to work until they were paid, the Tapias were terminated. [ Id. at ¶ 15].

Plaintiff Diaz worked at the same theater as the Tapias. [ Id. at ¶ 16]. She was also hired at the same $40 per day rate and worked seven days a week. [ Id. at ¶ 17]. Also like the Tapias, over a seventeen-day period, Diaz was underpaid by $680, and went unpaid over the final twenty days of her employment, despite her repeated requests for payment. [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 18-20]. Following this stretch of twenty days of unpaid labor, Diaz quit her job. [ Id. at ¶ 21].

Finally, Plaintiff Rugelio was employed by Defendants at a different Cinemark movie theater. [ Id. at ¶ 22]. Rather than a per day wage, Rugelio agreed to receive a flat rate of $825 every two weeks in exchange for cleaning the theater on a daily basis. [ Id. at ¶ 23]. For the final four weeks of his employment ( i.e. two pay periods), Defendants did not pay Rugelio at all. [ Id. at ¶ 24].

In the course of conducting their business, the Defendants never posted any notices advising Plaintiffs of their rights to a minimum wage, overtime, or all wages due, nor in any other way notified Plaintiffs of these rights. [ Id. at ¶ 26]. Defendants also did not keep accurate records of Plaintiffs' hours or pay. [ Id. at ¶ 27].

On March 6, 2014, Defendants were properly served with the Complaint. See [Dkt. ## 12-13]. Despite being served with the Complaint, neither Defendant entered an appearance or responded to the Complaint. As a result, on April 1, 2014, Plaintiffs moved for default entry, pursuant to Rule 55(a). [Dkt. #14]. ...


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