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Court approves settlement agreement between former security guard and employer

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DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has approved the settlement agreement between a security guard and his former employer in a labor dispute.

She has also dismissed the case with prejudice — meaning it can no longer be refiled.

Her order was issued after the parties filed a notice of reaching a settlement agreement on July 29, 2020. They sought the court approval and requested the court to retain jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the settlement agreement.

Aunik Mondal in his lawsuit named Akhil Chandra Mollick as defendant.

Mollick is the principal of Mollick Enterprises, a local company that provides security, marine sports (Big Boyz), 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 asked the federal court to order the defendant to pay him $37,435.65 in unpaid wages and overtime compensations pursuant to the FLSA, and $10, 522.07 under the CNMI Minimum Wage Act.

Mondal also 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.

In filing an amended complaint, another plaintiff was added, Jagadish Chandra Joy, who joined Mondal’s allegations. Both were  represented by attorney Tiberius Mocanu while  Mollick Enterprises was represented by attorney Colin Thompson.

In a summary judgment motion he filed in court, Thompson stated: “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.

He added that “the plaintiffs’ job duties as security guards were to conduct periodic foot patrols and [keep] log entries of people entering and exiting the property being guarded.”

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

Mondal’s lawyer, Mocanu, earlier told the court that the plaintiffs believed “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.”

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