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Trustees of the Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 v. Engineering Contractors

March 21, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alexander Williams, Jr. United States District Judge


Plaintiffs, trustees of various employee benefit funds governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), have moved for summary judgment to recover delinquent contributions and associated damages from Defendant employers. Doc. No. 45. The Court has reviewed Plaintiffs' Motion and accompanying exhibits and concludes that no hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons articulated below, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment on Damages.


Plaintiffs, hereinafter referred to as the SMW Local 100 Benefit Funds (or simply, the Funds), are trustees of various employee benefit funds organized under the provisions of ERISA.*fn1 Plaintiffs provide retirement, disability, medical, education, and related benefits to individuals working in the sheet metal industry in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The SMW Local 100 Benefit Funds are financed by contributions made by employers under the terms of collective bargaining agreements with the Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union 100.

At all relevant times, Defendant Engineering Contractors, Inc. was bound to a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union (hereinafter referred to as the CBA). The Court previously determined that Defendant ECI of Washington LLC is the alter ego of Engineering Contractors, Inc., which ceased operations in May 2010. Doc. No. 34. The same result was affirmed by the National Relations Labor Board after a full evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, the labor obligations of Engineering Contractors are carried over to Defendant ECI, and ECI is bound to the terms and conditions contained in the current CBA. See, e.g., Alkire v. N.L.R.B., 716 F.2d 1014, 1018 (4th Cir. 1983); Trs. of Nat'l Automatic Sprinkler Ind. Pension Fund v. Budget Plumbing Corp., 111 F. Supp. 2d 716, 719--20 (D. Md. 2001).

The CBA requires that contributions must be made to the Funds for each hour of work performed by Defendants' employees. The number of hours worked by each employee under the CBA is supplied to the Funds by employers on a self-reporting basis in monthly reports called Contribution Reports. The total number of hours reported on the Contribution Reports is multiplied by the applicable hourly contribution rates in the CBA, resulting in the total amount owed by the employer to the Funds for each month. In their Motion for Summary Judgment, the Funds assert that under ERISA and the terms of the CBA and relevant Trust Agreements, they are entitled to damages on delinquent contributions, as well as related liquidated damages, interest, late fees, and attorney's fees and costs. Defendants did not timely file a brief in opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion. The matter is now ripe for the Court's consideration.


Summary judgment is only appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323--25 (1986). The Court must "draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, including questions of credibility and of the weight to be accorded to particular evidence." Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 501 U.S. 496, 520 (1991) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must come forward with affidavits or other similar evidence to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A disputed fact presents a genuine issue "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.*fn2


Sections 502 and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA), "provide specific remedies for the enforcement of federal pension laws and the collective bargaining and trust agreements executed pursuant to these laws."Trustees of Glaziers Local 963 v. Walker & Laberge Co., 619 F. Supp. 1402, 1403 (D. Md. 1985). Section 1145 requires employers to make contributions according to the terms of such agreements:

Every employer who is obligated to make contributions to a multiemployer plan under the terms of the plan or under the terms of a collectively bargained agreement shall, to the extent not inconsistent with law, make such contributions in accordance with the terms and conditions of such plan or such agreement.

29 U.S.C. § 1145. Section 1132(g)(2) provides that where a plan prevails in enforcing section 1145, it shall be awarded damages in the amount of unpaid contributions, as well as interest, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees.*fn3 Interest on unpaid contributions shall be determined by using the rate provided under the plan, or, if none, the rate proscribed under 26 U.S.C. § 6621.

29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).

Federal common law governs the interpretation and enforcement ...

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