R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DT & C Global Management, LLC, d/b/a Town & Country Limousine, and John Jansen, and William Lynch, Defendants-Appellants. Mark Krantz, et al., Plaintiff-Appellees,
DT & C Global Management, LLC, and John Jansen, Defendants-Appellants.
October 3, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. l:15-cv-02010 -
Virginia M. Kendall, Judge. No. l:14-cv-00998 - Milton I.
Kanne, Rovner, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.
& C Global Management operated a ground transportation
company in Chicago. The company and two of its owners were
sued by former employees and the government for violating
state and federal wage-payment laws. After the defendants
ignored court orders, the district judges entered default
judgments for the plaintiffs. Eleven months later, the
defendants moved to vacate both judgments. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 60(b). Deeming their excuses too little, too late,
the judges denied the motions, precipitating this appeal.
Because the defendants did not show good cause for the
default, did not act quickly in filing motions to vacate, and
failed to articulate any meritorious defenses, we conclude
that the district judges did not abuse their discretion. We
affirm the judgments.
appeal consolidates two lawsuits. In the first, drivers sued
their former employer, DT & C Global Management, LLC, and
John Jansen, an owner, for wage-payment violations. In the
second, the Secretary of Labor sued the company, Jansen, and
William Lynch, another owner, for the same violations.
Krantz and William Dunne, two former drivers for the company,
alleged that the defendants failed to pay overtime rates, a
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §
201, and the Illinois Minimum Wage Act, 820 ILCS 105/1. The
plaintiffs also contended that defendants took unauthorized
wage deductions in violation of Illinois's Wage Payment
and Collection Act, 820 ILCS 115/9.
case proceeded to discovery, but ended with a default
judgment. When the defendants didn't respond to discovery
requests, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel, which the
judge granted. About a year later, in late 2015, the
plaintiffs moved for sanctions because the defendants had not
complied with the discovery order. After the defendants'
counsel responded that they couldn't reach the
defendants, the judge allowed counsel to withdraw. Because
the company could not represent itself without counsel, the
judge ordered Jansen to appear for a hearing. When Jansen
didn't show up, the judge entered sanctions: he struck
the defendants' answer, awarded the plaintiffs their
attorneys' fees, and entered a default. The plaintiffs
then moved for a default judgment, which the judge granted in
months later, the defendants moved to vacate that judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1). Jansen
offered two excuses. He first asserted that he had received
no notices during the last few months of the case. He said he
didn't get notice of counsel's motion to withdraw or
the judge's order directing him to appear because his
company closed its business in September 2015 and no longer
received mail at their office address. Jansen didn't get
any mail sent to his home or e-mail addresses, he thinks,
because he had moved to Indiana and his emails were
"forwarded to another company." As a result, he was
unaware of the default judgment against him until
"summer 2016." Second he said he could not keep in
contact with his lawyers because of his poor health. He
explained that surgeries in 2011 and 2014, ongoing
medication, and a hospitalization in April 2016 for
"unspecified neurological issues" created
"difficulty attending to business affairs." He
acknowledged, however, that in the summer of 2015 he met with
Attorney James E. Gorman several times in Chicago. After
hiring Gorman, Jansen had no further contact with
Gorman's office until around "late March, early
April" 2016, when Jansen learned that Gorman had died.
judge denied the motion. He ruled that the default was the
result of "inattention to the litigation" rather
than illness, and the defendants had not shown that they had
a legitimate defense.
Department of Labor Case
Secretary of Labor alleged the same Fair Labor Standards Act
violations in its suit against DT & C, Jansen, and also
William Lynch ...