Lawyer says he can no longer represent client in labor case

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THE lawyer of a former security guard who sued his employer in federal court for labor violations says he cannot respond to Mollick Enterprises’ summary judgment motion.

Attorney Tiberius Mocanu filed a notice of non-opposition to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on Wednesday.

Mocanu represented Aunik Mondal in his lawsuit against Akhil Chandra Mollick of Mollick Enterprises, a local company that provides security, marine sports, and maintenance services

In Nov. 2018, Mondal filed a complaint, alleging violations of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, the CNMI Minimum Wage and Hour Act, breach of contract, and wrongful termination.

Mondal wants the federal court to order the defendant to pay him $37,435.65 for all unpaid wages and overtime compensations pursuant to the FLSA, and $10,522.07 under the CNMI Minimum Wage Act.

Moreover, Mondal filed a class action suit against the defendant for similarly situated individuals and asked the court for an order of damages for all similarly situated individuals in an amount to be determined by the court.

He has asked for liquidated damages for Mollick’s alleged willful conduct in failing to pay him wages or overtime, and the same for similarly situated individuals.

Mondal wants the court to award him punitive damages for the fraudulent acts allegedly committed by Mollick to him, and all other members of the class who are similarly situated.

Mondal’s former lawyer, Tiberius Mocanu, said he believes that he cannot promote a defense or facts in support of an opposition to the summary judgment motion without violating federal rules of civil procedure.

Mocanu asked the court to provide the plaintiff time to find another lawyer.

In his declaration, Mocanu said he had reviewed the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and have diligently researched the points of law. “I have concluded that I am unable to mount a defense that I believe would not violate Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(1-4). I have researched this rule extensively and fully understand the ramifications of these statements.”

He said he had informed his client about his position and ethical obligations to the court.

“Plaintiffs believe that they have legal arguments and facts to support their contentions. I have informed them that I believe that I cannot promote those arguments and facts and as a consequence they have terminated my representation,” Mocanu said.

Mollick Enterprises is represented by attorney Colin Thompson.

In his client’s summary judgment motion, Thompson said: “To establish jurisdiction for an overtime violation under FLSA, the plaintiff must show either, (1) individual coverage — that the employee was engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce; or (2) enterprise coverage — that the employer was engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”

Neither Mollick Enterprises nor Big Boyz earned more than $500,000 in gross revenues for the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Thompson said.

None of the plaintiffs handled any banking or business banking as part of their job duties and never purchased any supplies or transferred any goods as part of their job duties, Thompson added.

“The plaintiffs’ job duties as security guards were to conduct periodic foot patrols and they kept log entries of people entering and exiting the property being guarded,” Thompson said.

Since the plaintiff cannot prove the existence of enterprise or individual coverage factually or as a matter of law, this entitles defendants to summary judgment on the FLSA claims of the lawsuit, Thompson said.



November 2020 pssnewsletter

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