United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ORDER AND ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT
WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE
with an in-person hearing on plaintiffs' motion for
default judgment (dkt. #8), the court will now enter judgment
granting plaintiffs: $17, 088.26 in statutory damages for
unpaid federal minimum wage and overtime due under the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §
216(b); $17, 088.26 in punitive damages for FLSA retaliation;
and $12, 695 in attorneys' fees and costs consistent with
the findings and conclusions set forth below.
Shaungfen Liu and Guangai Xiong filed this action against
defendants Kongfeng Ni, Fugu Eastern Cuisine Inc. and
Ni's American Goldfinch Asian Cuisine Group, Inc.,
alleging violations of the FLSA for defendants' failure
to pay minimum wage and overtime and for Ni's retaliatory
actions. The clerk of court entered default against
defendants on July 5, 2017, after they failed to answer or
otherwise appear in this lawsuit despite having been served.
25, 2017, plaintiffs filed their motion for default judgment
and supporting materials, which their counsel also mailed to
Ni at the address where he had earlier been served
personally. The court held an in-person hearing on
plaintiffs' motion for default judgment on August 23,
2017, at which plaintiffs appeared by counsel and defendants
again failed to appear.
court accepts the basic facts as pled in plaintiff's
complaint in light of defendants' default. See
Domanus v. Lewicki, 742 F.3d 290, 303 (7th Cir.
2014) (upon default judgment, “allegations in the
complaint relating to liability are true”). Based on
plaintiffs' submissions, as well as counsel's
statements at the hearing, the court makes the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Defendant Kongfeng Ni is the owner of Fugu Eastern Cuisine,
Inc., and Ni's American Goldfinch Asian Cuisine Group,
Plaintiffs entered into separate agreements with Ni by which
they would each work open-to-close shifts at his restaurant
in Madison, Wisconsin, in exchange for monthly wages, as well
as room and board at a property he owned in Madison.
Plaintiffs each worked 39 days, each for a total of 248 hours
at minimum wage and 227 and a half hours of overtime, for
which they received no wages from defendants.
Ni informed plaintiffs verbally that he was terminating their
employment on April 3, 2017, and that he was not going to pay
them any wages because he did not have the money to do so and
because plaintiffs were required by law to pay income taxes
before receiving any wages.
Plaintiffs informed Mr. Ni on April 7, 2017, that they had
contacted an attorney to pursue an unpaid wage claim against
him. Later that same day, he served them with an eviction
notice stating, contrary to their earlier agreement, that
plaintiffs owed $2, 014 in back rent.
April 14, 2017, Mr. Ni constructively evicted plaintiffs by
shutting off the electricity in their apartment.
Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), each plaintiff is
entitled to $4, 272.07 in unpaid minimum wage and overtime
compensation, as well as an equal amount in liquidated