Berrios v. Green Wireless, LLC et al, No. 8:2014cv03655 - Document 41 (D. Md. 2017)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 5/15/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)
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Berrios v. Green Wireless, LLC et al Doc. 41 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND Southern DIANA C. BERRIOS " 1- - * Plaintiff, Division * Case No.: G.IH-I"-3655 * GREEN WIRELESS, LLC, et al. * Defendants. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Diana C. Berrios' Motion to Vacate and Reinstate. ECI' No. "0. requesting that the Court re-open the above-referenced case and allow her elaims against two previously dismissed defendants. Green Wireless. LLC. ("Green Wireless") and Michael Pak. to proceed. For the following reasons. Plaintiffs motion is granted. I. BACKGROUND A complete discussion of the factual and procedural background of this case can be !lllll1d in the Court's prior opinions. See Berrios \'. Green Wireless. LLC. No. G.lII-14-3655. 2016 WL 1562902 (D. Md. Apr. 18. 2016) (hereinafter. "Consellt ./udg/1/ellt Opinion") and Berrios \'. Green lVireless. LLC.. No. G.lII-14-3655. 2016 WL 7451297 (D. Md. Dec. 27. 2016) (hereinafter. "Aflome)"s Fees Opinion') Thus. thc Court will only discuss the tactual and procedural details ncccssary to resolve the present motion. Plaintiff tiled the Complaint against her employcrs Green Wirelcss. a cell phone and cell phone plan provider: Shin. the owner and manager: and Pak. the co-manager. Eel' No. 29 at I. 2.1 The Complaint Labor Standards alleged a failure to pay her overtimc * Act (""FLSA"). 29 U.S.C. the C01ll1 approvcd In the same opinion. was filed as to all Defendants. a conscntjudgmcnt Thus, the Court dcnicd Plaintitrs Wireless without prejudicc, defendants between Plaintiff and Shin. ECF No. 29. damages Motion li,r Dcf~llIlt Judgment explaining that Plaintiff"may within fourtecn days ofthc judgment Fees. PlaintifTstatcd [against satisfied'" Defendant as to Dcfendants 1. along accompanying Order'" Id intcnds to prosccutc with any modi tication for attorney her claims as to the two rcmaining On July 7. 2016. PlaintifT requested "ifthis fecs. is fully Plaintiffs claim for attorney's On Dcccmbcr dcfendants'" that the Clerk "mark the judgmcnt having bccn paid" but noting that because Plaintiffs costs. dcfcndants Motion for ECF No. 31 at I. Plaintiff f1ll1her stated that "in the event that this judgmcnt paid. Plaintiff pcnding, Pak and Grecn refile her motion against thc hcr intention to dismiss the rcmaining Shin Motion for Attorncy's I'laintifT$16AIIO.00 is not Id of $3.000.00 as Fecs was still fees and cost had not bccn satisfied. 27. 2016. the Court awarded with from Green Wireless or Mr. Pak'" Id. at 6. Plaintiff did not rcfilc thc motion. Instead. in a footnotc in her subscqucnt Attorney's ECF No. 18. On thc Court statcd that "it is unclear whcther. in light of the scttlcmcnt Mr. Shin, Plaintiff intends to seck additional remaining state laws. Id at I. On 201 eI self., and Maryland Octobcr 22. 20 IS. a Motion fiJr Def~llIlt Judgmcnt April 18,2016, wages. in violation of the federal Fair ECl' No. 34. in attorney's fces and AI/omey's Fees Opinion. 2016 WL 7451297. at *5. In that same opinion, the Court dismisscd the remaining PlaintifT previously thc judgmcnt I'ak and Grccn Wircless. stated its intent to dismiss thc remaining awarded 1 Pin cites to documents by that system. claims against Dcfendants against Dcfendant defendants Shin ... 1 and] [a Is that judgment noting that ..thc upon the satisfaction of has becn satisficd ... thc liIed on the Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refer to the page numbers generated 2 rcmaining claims arc dismissed:' /d. On January 3. 2017. Dcfendant Shin appcaled the AI/orne)' '.\'Fees Opinioll to the Unitcd States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. ECF No, 37. On January 5. 2017. Plainti ITliled a Motion to Vacate and Reinstate. requesting that thc Court re-open the case and allow her previously dismissed claims against Defendants Pak and Green Wireless to proceed. ECF No. 40, II. DISCUSSION Plainti 1'1' moves Il)r the Court to vacate its December 27, 2016 order dismissing Defendants Pak and Green Wirelcss. pursuant to eithcr Fcdcral Rulc of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b), No responses havc becn filed by any of the Defendants in opposition to this motion. As a threshold matter. the Court must determine whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear this issue bccause its prior opinion in this case. the AI/orne)' '.I' Fees Opinion. is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. "Generally. a timely tiled notice of appcal translers jurisdiction of a case to the court of appeals and strips a district court of jurisdiction to rule on any matters involved in the appeal:' Doe I'. Puh, Ciri::ell. 749 F.3d 246. 258 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Gri~g.\'I'. Prol'ic!enr COllsumer Disc, Co" 459 U.S. 56. 58 (1982)) (per curiam), "This rule fosters judicial economy and guards against the confusion and inelliciency that would result if two courts simultaneously were considering the same issues:' /d. (citation omitted). However ... the rule only applies to prevent a trial court from taking actions that might duplicate or confuse issucs bcfore the appellate court:' Crll/chjie/d \'. u.s. Army Corps of En~ineers. 230 F. Supp. 2d 673. 680 (E.D. Va. 2002). The following issues are on appeal: "(I) Did the District Court abuse its discretion in declining to apply all of the .10/111.1'011 factors when determining the reasonableness of expended hours and charged rates? [and] (2) Did the District Court abuse its discretion in linding that the Appellce Diana Berrios was entitled to attorneys' lees and costs of $16.441.00 against Appellant , .' Michacl Shin'!""Bri4/iJr Appel/ani at 7. Berrios v. Shin. No. 17-1008 (4th Cir. Mar. 1.2017). Thus. nothing that this Court decides with respect to the claims against the remaining Defendants. Green Wireless and Pak. would duplicate or confuse issues before the Fourth Circuit. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize motions Ii.)r reconsideration: Instead. Rule 59(e) authorizes a district court to alter. amend. or vacate a prior judgment. and Rule 60 provides Ii.)rrelief from judgment. See Katyle v. Penn Nat 'I Gamin)!.. Inc.. 637 FJd 462. 471 n. 4 (4th Cir. 2011). "A motion to alter or amend liled within 28 days of the judgment is analyzed under Rule 59(e): if the motion is tiled later. Rule 60(b) controls."' Cross v. Fleet Reserve Ass'n Pension Plan. No. 05-0001. 2010 WL 3609530. at *2 (D. Md. Sept. 14. 2010). Here. Plaintiff tiled her motion nine days alier the entry of judgment. Thus. while PlaintilT purports to bring her motion under both rules. the Court will analyze her claim undcr thc framework of Rule 59(c). Rule 59(e) allows a party to tile a motion to alter or amend ajudgment no later than 28 days alier the entry of the judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e): see also Ford v. United States. No. GJH-II-3039. 2016 WL 3430673. at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 16.2016). One purpose of Rule 59(e) is to "permit[j a district court to correct its own errors. 'sparing the parties and the appellate courts the burden of unnecessary appellate proceedings .... Pac. Ins. Co. \'. Am. Nat. Fire Ins. Co .. 148 F,3d 396.403 (4th Cir. 19(8), However. the Fourth Circuit recognizes only three grounds on which a court may alter or amend an earlier judgment: ..( I) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law: (2) to account Ii.)rncw cvidence not availablc at trial: or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice."' United States ex ref. Becker \'. lVestin)!.hollse Savannah Ri\'er Co.. 305 F.3d 284. 290 (4th Cir. 20(2) (citing Pac. Ins. Co. \'. Am. Nat'! Fire 4 /11.1'. CO .. 148 F.3d 396.403 (4th Cir. 1998». "Clear error or manifest injustiee occurs where a court 'has patently misunderstood a party. or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties. or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension ...... Wagller v. Wart/ell. No. ELH-14-791. 2016 WL 1169937. at *3 (D. Md. Mar. 24. 2(16) (quoting Killg v. McFaddell. No. I:14-cv-00091-JMC. 2015 WL 4937292. at *2 (D.S.C. Aug. 18.2(15». Here. Plaintiff requests that the Court vacate its prior judgement because "the Court's rationale for dismissing Plaintiffs claims against Green Wireless and MichaelPak [was] premised on an incomplete reading ofPlaintifrs Fee Petition:' ECF No. 40 at 3. In their Motion for Altorney's Fees. Plaintiff stated their intention to dismiss the remaining defendants "ifthis judgmcnt [against Defendant Shinjo along with any modification for attorney fees. is fully satisfied:' ECF No. 31 at I (emphasis added). In its prior opinion. the Court. observing that the $3.000.00 judgement had been satislied. dismissed the remaining claims against Defendants Pak and Green Wireless. Alfol'l7ey 's Fees Opillioll. 2016 WL 7451297. at *5. Therefore. PlaintitT is correct that thc Court misunderstood Plaintifrs intentions and failed to recognize that Plaintiff intended to dismiss the remaining claims only alier judgement had a/so been satisfied as to the altorney's fees. As the Court's underlying decision regarding altorney"s fees is still under appeal. judgment has not been fully satisfied against Defendant Shin. Thus. the Court finds that it was clear error to dismiss the claims against Defendants Green Wireless and Pak. Furthermore. the Court notes that Plaintiffs Motion has been made without objection by any of the Defendants. Thus. the COlll1will alter its judgment and permit the claims against Defendants Green Wireless and Pak to proceed. 5 However, this does not signify that the Court will allow this case to languish. The Court therefore orders Plaintiff to either move for default judgment as to Defendants Green Wireless and Pak, or request a stay in the proceedings pending the resolution of the on-going appeal within fourteen days of the accompanying Order. III. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Plaintifl's Motion to Vacate Judgment. ECF No. 40, shall be granted. A separate Order follows. Dated:~ GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge 6