Argued: October 24, 2017
Mashud Parves Rana brought this action against his former
employers, Monirul Islam and Fahima Tahsina Prova, alleging
violations of various state and federal labor and human
trafficking laws. Over a 15-month period, the defendants
defied numerous orders of the district court (Sidney H.
Stein, Judge), and the district court granted Rana's
motion to strike the defendants' answer and enter a
default judgment. Defendant Islam, pro se, appeals the
district court's damages order. We vacate in part and
remand because cumulative liquidated damages may not be
awarded for the same course of conduct under both the Fair
Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C.
§ 201 et seq., and the New York Labor Law
("NYLL"), NYLL §§ 190 et seq. & 650
Brett Kohlhofer (Matthew Larrabee, on the brief), Dechert,
LLP, New York, N.Y. and Washington, D.C., for Appellee Mashud
Monirul Islam, pro se.
Before: Jacobs, Sack, and Parker, Circuit Judges.
Parves Rana filed a complaint against his former employers,
defendant-appellant Monirul Islam and defendant Fahima
Tahsina Prova, alleging, inter alia, that his
employment conditions violated the Trafficking Victims
Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA"), 18 U.S.C.
§ 1589 et seq., the Fair Labor Standards Act of
1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq., the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), N.Y.
Lab. L. §§ 190 and 650 et seq., and the
common law of torts. After the defendants ignored five
district court orders to participate in discovery, and used
other dilatory tactics, the district court (Sidney H. Stein,
Judge) granted Rana's motion pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 37 to strike the defendants'
answer and enter a default judgment. Following a damages
inquest, the district court awarded Rana $922,
597.31. Islam, pro se, appeals the
district court's damages calculation, arguing chiefly
that there were no damages because Rana was not mistreated.
Islam fails to raise any meritorious arguments, the case
presents an issue that has split district courts in this
Circuit. We conclude that, because New York Labor Law does
not call for awards of NYLL liquidated damages on top of
liquidated damages under the FLSA, district courts may not
award cumulative liquidated damages for the same course of
conduct under both statutes. We therefore vacate in part and
remand to amend the liquidated damages calculation.
Bangladeshi national, alleged that he was employed as a
domestic worker by Islam and Prova (who are married) for
almost nineteen months. Islam is a Bangladeshi diplomat who
was serving as the Consul General of Bangladesh in New York
City during the time of Rana's employment.
alleged that the defendants hired him in Bangladesh,
promising good working conditions and a monthly wage of $3,
000. But once Rana arrived in the U.S., the defendants seized
his passport and visa, confined him to their apartment, and
subjected him to "slavery-like conditions, "
• Requiring work from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm, at a minimum,
seven days a week, without days off.
• Not paying Rana for his services. .
Inflicting physical abuse: Islam hit Rana twice, once for
asking if he would ever receive his salary, and again when
Rana told Islam that he did not want to follow him to his
next posting in Morocco.
• Inflicting verbal abuse and threats of violence.
• Forcing Rana to sleep on a mattress on the kitchen
floor in one apartment, and in a storage room in another.
• Giving Rana nothing but expired or leftover food to
March 2, 2014, Rana fled the defendants' apartment while
they were out, and made a report at a New York City Police
filed suit against the defendants on March 21, 2014, and
Islam and Prova, through counsel, moved to dismiss the
complaint. Islam's affidavit denied that he mistreated
Rana, and advised that he had relocated to Bangladesh's
Embassy in ...