United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hazel United States District Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff National Electrical Benefit
Fund's ("NEBF") Motion to Amend Judgment. FCF
No. 12. A hearing is unnecessary. Foe. R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the following reasons. Plaintiffs Motion is
Memorandum Opinion regarding Plaintiffs Motion for Default
Judgment, this Court found Defendant Donald A. Pusey. Inc.
liable for its failure to submit contributions to NEBF that
it was "legally and contractually obligated to
make." Nat'l Elec. Benefit Fund v. Donald A.
Pusey, Inc., No. GJH-15-2659. 2016 WL 3129112. at *3 (D.
Md. June 1. 2016). Plaintiff was therefore awarded
"'$2, 035.38 in delinquent contributions: interest
in the amount of $679.72: attorney's fees and costs in
the amount of $992.80: audit fees in the amount of $366.93:
any additional fees and costs incurred by NEBF in connection
with the enforcement of a judgment: interest on all amounts
awarded: and. post-judgment interest until paid."
Id. Now. in their Motion to Amend Judgment.
Plaintiff asks for an additional award of $407.08 in
liquidated damages. FCF No. 12 ¶ 8.
59(c) allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend a
judgment no later than 28 days after the entry of the
judgment. The Fourth Circuit has recognized three grounds on
which a court may alter or amend an earlier judgment:
"(1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling
law: (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial;
or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice." United Stales ex rel. Becker v.
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284,
290 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing Pac. Ins, Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F, 3d 396. 403
(4th Cir. 1998)). Plaintiff claims here that the Court
previously made an error of law. Plaintiff is correct.
action to enforce the payment of delinquent contributions
under ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g), a successful Plaintiff
shall be awarded:
(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions.
(C) an amount equal to the greater of-
(i) interest on the unpaid contributions, or
(ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an
amount not in excess of 20 percent (or such higher percentage
as may be permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount
determined by the court under subparagraph (A),
(D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action,
to be paid by the defendant, and
(E) such other legal or equitable relief as the court deems
29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2). Generally speaking, the first
two categories of relief are similar to damages awarded in a
breach of contract case, which seek to put the injured party
in "as good a position as he would have been in had the
contract been performed." by awarding the Plaintiff
unpaid contributions and any interest that would have accrued
on them. Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 344 cmt. a
(Am. Law Inst. 1981). The third category seeks to deter the
Defendant from making delinquent contributions in the future
by ordering an additional award of either the
interest on the unpaid contributions or liquidated damages
not in excess of 20 percent, whichever amount is greater.
See Vernau v. Bowen Enterprises, Inc., 648 F.Supp.
721. 724-25 (W.D. Pa. 1986)(noting both the deterrent purpose
of the provision and that the elements are "phrased in
the disjunctive."). In its prior opinion, the Court
conflated the categories of relief, awarding Plaintiff only
enough to put it in as good a position as it would have been
in had the Defendant paid its required contributions, but
failed to award the third category of additional, deterrent
is therefore correct that it is owed additional damages. In
both its Motion to Amend Judgment and its Complaint.
Plaintiff requests S407.08 in liquidated damages. ECF No. 1
¶ 17: ECF No. 12 ¶ 8. The Court notes that this is
less than they would be entitled to under ERISA since the
amount of interest on the unpaid contributions. $635.05, is
greater than the amount of liquidated damages. $407.08. 29
U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2)(C). The Court assumes that Plaintiff
is requesting the lesser amount under the belief that they
were limited by the language in the NEBF trust agreement,
which discusses a liquidated damages award of "up to
twenty percent (20%) of the amount found to be
delinquent." ECF No. 9-1 at 7. but does not include any
reference to an alternate award of additional interest. The
Court will not opine on whether the contract could limit
recovery otherwise available under ERISA, but notes that the
Court is limited in the amount of damages it may award in a
default judgment by Rule 54(c). Under that rule, the award
may not '"differ in kind from, or exceed ...