In early 2016, Cantrell PLLC filed a lawsuit against My Benefits LLC and First Party Administrator LLC on behalf of a former employee. The former employee asserted several claims, including unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, and conversion of health savings account funds. Instead of hiring an attorney and filing a response to the lawsuit, the two corporate defendants, who had in-house counsel, attempted to file answers pro se – which is not permitted in Florida.
Cantrell PLLC put the defendants on notice that they were required to hire an attorney and, if they did not, a default would be sought. In Florida, if a default is obtained, a defendant is automatically considered to be liable for the claims against it; only the extent of the damages must be determined.
Cantrell PLLC subsequently obtained a default against the defendants for not filing a response to the lawsuit. After obtaining the default, the defendants then hired a prominent Tampa law firm, which filed a motion to set aside the default. Cantrell PLLC opposed the motion.
After extensive briefing and oral argument, the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Pinellas County denied the defendants’ motion. As a result, the case will now proceed to trial. At trial, the issue will not be “if” the plaintiff should win, but only the amount of money and attorneys’ fees the defendants must pay.