United States District Court, D. Maryland
RODMAN LOCAL 201 PENSION, WELFARE, VACATION, AND APPRENTICE FUNDS,
CONTRACT DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT, LLC
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.
pending and ready for resolution in this action arising under
the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”) is Plaintiffs' motion for default
judgment. (ECF No. 10). The relevant issues have been briefed
and the court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6, no
hearing being deemed necessary. For the reasons that follow,
Plaintiffs' motion will be granted in part and Defendant
will be ordered to submit to an audit.
are trustees of various trust funds associated with the
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental
& Reinforcing Ironworkers Union No. 201 (“the
Funds”). The Funds are employee benefit plans within
the meaning of § 3(3) of ERISA. See 29 U.S.C.
§ 1002(3). Defendant Contract Design & Development,
LLC is an employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce
under ERISA. See 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(5),
(12). The Funds were established and are maintained pursuant
to the Restated Agreements and Declarations of Trust
(“the trust agreements”) and a collective
bargaining agreement between Rodman Local No. 201 and
October 21, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint on behalf of
the Funds alleging that Defendant breached the collective
bargaining and trust agreements by failing to make
contributions and submit contribution reports for October,
November, and December, 2015. According to the complaint,
Defendant was required to make contributions to the Funds for
“each hour worked by employees of the Defendant
performing work covered by the Collective Bargaining
Agreement . . . .” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 11). Additionally,
Defendant was obligated to submit forms every month reporting
the amount of contributions due. The trust agreements provide
that if an employer fails to make timely contributions, it
must pay liquidated damages if payment is not postmarked by
the last day of the month in which contributions are due.
Plaintiffs further allege that Defendant was also obligated
to remit employees' dues deducted from their pay to the
Funds' third-party administrator. (Id. at ¶
Plaintiffs' complaint claims that Defendant failed to
make any payments. In addition to the outstanding
contributions, Plaintiffs seek employees' dues,
liquidated damages and interest for late payments, as well as
attorneys' fees and costs. Plaintiffs recite that they
were made aware of the amounts due by a union member who
previously worked for Defendant and provided Plaintiffs with
his weekly payroll sheets. (ECF No. 10-4, p. 3, 4).
served the summons and complaint on Defendant on November 1,
2016. When Defendant failed to respond within the requisite
time period, Plaintiffs moved for the entry of default. The
clerk entered default against Defendant on January 3, 2017.
(ECF No. 8). Plaintiffs filed the subject motion for entry of
default judgment on February 2, 2017. (ECF No. 10).
Trustees of the Rodman 201 Pension, Welfare, Vacation and
Apprentice Funds (“Rodman Funds”) seek default
judgment in the amount of $4, 793.04 which consists of $3,
661.30 in contributions, liquidated damages of $366.13, and
interest, at the time the motion was filed, of $765.61. (ECF
the Annuity Fund seeks $1, 234.52 representing unpaid
contributions in the amount of $924.00, liquidated damages of
$184.80, and interest, at the time the motion was filed, of
$125.72. (ECF No. 10-6, p. 5).
also seek unremitted union dues in the amount of $421.20,
attorneys' fees of $5, 556.75, and costs of $675.00.
No. 10-1). Additionally, Plaintiffs move for an order
directing Defendant to submit to a complete audit of its wage
and payroll records for the period August 1, 2015 through the
date of judgment.
following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
Standard of Review
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), “[w]hen a party against whom a
judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead
or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit
or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's
default.” Where a default has been previously entered
by the clerk and the complaint does not specify a certain
amount of damages, the court may enter a default judgment,
upon the plaintiff's application and notice to the
defaulting party, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). A
defendant's default does not automatically entitle the
plaintiff to entry of a default judgment; rather, that
decision is left to the discretion of the court. See Dow
v. Jones, 232 F.Supp.2d 491, 494 (D.Md. 2002);
Lipenga v. Kambalame, 219 F.Supp.3d 517 (D.Md.
2016). The Fourth Circuit has a “strong policy”
that “cases be decided on their merits, ”
id. (citing United States v. Shaffer Equip.
Co., 11 F.3d 450, 453 (4th Cir. ...