United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff,
WELLFLEET COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, et al.,
M. NAVARRO, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
before the Court is Plaintiff R. Alexander Acosta's
(“Plaintiff's”) Motion for Entry of Judgment,
(ECF No. 177). Defendants Allen Roach and Wellfleet
Communications (“Defendants”) filed a Response,
(ECF No. 178). Plaintiff filed a Reply, (ECF No. 180). For
the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's Motion for Entry
of Judgment is DENIED.
case arises from Defendants' failure to compensate their
call-center employees at the minimum wage or provide them
with overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards
Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.
(“FLSA”). On July 29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment seeking injunctive relief, back
wages, and liquidated damages on behalf of Defendants'
employees. (Motion for Summary Judgment (“MSJ”),
ECF No. 152). The Motion sought monetary relief for the
employees dating back to August 30, 2009. (Id.
30:17-23). Plaintiff calculated Defendants' liability for
back wages by assuming that each at-issue employee worked at
least thirty hours per week. (Id. 30:19-20). Prior
to Plaintiff filing his Motion for Summary Judgment,
Defendants filed competing motions to dismiss and motions for
summary judgment. (See ECF Nos. 64, 71, 148, 149).
September 29, 2018, the Court denied Defendants'
dispositive motions and granted in part Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Order (“MSJ
Order”), ECF No. 170). In the Order, the Court ruled in
Plaintiff's favor regarding Defendants' liability for
the FLSA claims. (Id. 9:1-18:22, 20:10-27:9). The
Court also concluded that Plaintiff reasonably used a
thirty-hour work week to calculate Defendants' liability
for back wages. (Id. 21:16-21). However, because
the Court concluded that equitable tolling did not apply,
Plaintiff could only recover back wages for employees dating
back to October 7, 2013. (Id. 18:23-21:9; 21:21-24).
The Court ordered Plaintiff to file supplemental briefing
demonstrating the employees' lost wages between 2013 and
2016 by using the same calculation method employed in the
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Id. 21:21-24,
28:12-13). With respect to injunctive relief, the Court found
an injunction appropriate but ordered Plaintiff to propose a
prospective injunction using specific and enforceable terms.
(Id. 26:9-27:9, 28:12-15).
accordingly filed supplemental briefing. (Supp. Brief, ECF
No. 172). Several months thereafter, the Court granted
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend or Correct the First Amended
Complaint. (Order (“Amendment Order”), ECF No.
176). The Order allowed Plaintiff to amend the Complaint to
add 324 additional employees to the list of individuals for
whom Plaintiff seeks back wages. (Id. 1:24-25,
6:9-10). Given that the Court's Order came after the
close of discovery, the Court provided Defendants an
additional twenty-one days to file a limited motion to reopen
discovery with respect to the newly added employees.
(Id. 5:23-6:2, 6:11-12). The Court noted,
“[s]hould the Defendants forego this motion, the
parties will have twenty-one days thereafter to file
supplemental motions for summary judgment as to the at-issue
employees and damages.” (Id. 6:2-4).
Defendants did not seek discovery.
then filed the instant Motion for Judgment. (Mot. for
Judgment (“MFJ”), ECF No. 177). In the Motion,
Plaintiff argues that the Court may enter judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58 because the factual
record before the Court is unchanged from when Plaintiff
prevailed in part on his Motion for Summary Judgment.
Rule of Civil Procedure 58 requires the clerk to enter
judgment in a separate document after the court
reaches a final decision on the merits. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 58(a). Rule 58 provides two ways for the court to
enter judgment. Either, the clerk may enter judgment without
the court's direction if “(A) the jury returns a
general verdict; (B) the court awards only costs or a sum
certain; or (C) the court denies all relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(b)(1). Or, the clerk may enter judgment at
the direction of the court, “[s]ubject to the
requirements of Rule 54(b), ” if the jury returns a
special verdict or a verdict with answers to written
questions, or, as in this case, the court grants other
relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(b)(2).
54(b) allows the court to enter partial final judgment
“as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or
parties only if the court expressly determines there is no
just reason for delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). If the
amount of damages to be awarded has not been resolved with
respect to the claim at issue, then Rule 54(b) relief is not
appropriate. See Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 882 F.3d
314, 323 (2d Cir. 2018) (“A grant of ‘partial
summary judgment limited to the issue of liability, which
reserves the issue of damages and other relief is not
‘final' within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1291,' and, therefore, ‘not certifiable pursuant to
Rule 54(b).'” (quoting Acha v. Beame, 570
F.2d 57, 62 (2d Cir. 1978)).
58(b) thus provides a mechanism for a court to decree that a
claim has been finally adjudged to the extent that it may be
appealed, but it does not provide a mechanism for the court
to make a factual determination that disposes of the case.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 58(b) (explaining that the court
must approve the judgment form, “[s]ubject to Rue
54(b), ” if the court grants a form of relief other
than that enumerated in Rule 58(b)); Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b)
(explaining the prerequisites for the district court to enter
partial final judgment). Rather, if the merits of the case
have not been fully resolved, and there is no genuine dispute
of material fact in the record before the court, a party may
seek resolution of the merits in its favor by filing a timely
motion for summary judgment. See generally Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56.
Order granting Plaintiff leave to amend, the Court noted that
it still needs to reach a factual determination regarding the
extent of the at-issue employees' recoverable back wages.
(Amendment Order 2:2-2:4). Even if Defendants had not
disputed the figure Plaintiff reached in his Supplemental
Brief,  the Court must decide the amount of back
wages to award prior to the Clerk entering judgment. Given
that the Court has only determined the method Plaintiff must
use to calculate back wages, as opposed to the total amount
of back wages to award, the Court has not reached a final
judgment on the merits of Plaintiff's FLSA claims for
damages. Therefore, entry of judgment pursuant to Rule 58 is
inappropriate. This procedural reality is exactly why the
Court ordered Plaintiff to move for summary judgment in the
event Defendants did not seek additional discovery.
Unfortunately, the time for Plaintiff to file a dispositive
motion has passed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(b).
Nevertheless, the Court does find Plaintiff's proposed
injunction compliant with the Court's previous Order.