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Trustees of National Automatic Sprinkler Indust. Welfare Fund v. First Responder Fire Protection Corp.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

August 13, 2017

TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER INDUST. WELFARE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FIRST RESPONDER FIRE PROTECTION CORPORATION Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STALES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Trustees of the National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Welfare Fund. National Automatic Sprinkler Local 669 UA Education Fund, National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Pension Fund. Sprinkler Industry Supplemental Pension Fund, and International Training Fund ("Plaintiffs"" or the "NASI Funds") bring this action against Defendant First Responder Fire Protection Corporation ("Defendant") under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("FRISA"). as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980. 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. Following Defendant's failure to answer or otherwise defend in this action, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendant on June 7. 2017. ECF No. 8. Now pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). ECF No. 7. No hearing is necessary. See I.oc. R. 1 05.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow. Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment is granted. Judgment is entered against Defendant in the total amount of $241.609.95.

         I.BACKGROUND[1]

         The NASI Funds are multiemployer employee benefit plans as defined in Section 3(3) of ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1002(3). ECF No. 1 ¶ 2. The Funds arc established and maintained according to the provisions of the Restated Agreements and Declarations of Trust establishing the NASI Funds ("Trust Agreements"), and the Collective Bargaining Agreements between Sprinkler Fitters Local Unions No. 483. 669. 709 ("the "Unions") and the Defendant. Id. The NASI Funds are administered at 8000 Corporate Drive. Landover. Maryland 20785. Id.

         Defendant First Responder Fire Protection Corporation is a corporation existing under the laws of the State of California, with offices located in California. ECF No. 1 ¶ 3. Defendant operates as a contractor or subcontractor in the sprinkler industry, and at all times relevant to the action was and is an employer in an industry affecting commerce as defined by ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(5). (9). (11). (12) and (14) and by the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA). 28 U.S.C. §§ 142(1). (3) and 152(2). See Id.

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendant entered into agreements with the Unions, which, in turn, bound them to the Collective Bargaining Agreements executed between the Unions and the National Fire Sprinkler Association. ECF No. 1 ¶ 4: FCF No. 7-3 ¶¶ 2-8; see also FCF Nos. 7-4-7-9 (agreements between Defendant and Focal Union 669); ECF Nos. 7-10-7-14 (agreements between Defendant and Focal Union 483); and ECF Nos. 7-15-7-18 (agreements between Defendant and Local Union 709). Pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreements. Defendant was obligated to pay to the NASI Funds certain sums of money for each hour worked by its employees who were covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreements. ECF No. 1 ¶ 5; see also ECF No. 7-3 ¶¶ 2-8. According to the Complaint. Defendant employed individuals covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreements from March 2015 through the present. ECF No. ¶ 6.

         Additionally, at all times relevant to the action. Defendant was bound to the Trust Agreements. ECF Nos. 7-19-7-23. and the Guidelines for Participation in the KAS1 funds ("Guidelines"), ECF No. 7-24. ECF No. 1 ¶ 7. Under the terms of the Trust Agreements, when an employer becomes two or more months delinquent in making the required contributions, and has not submitted the proper reporting forms, the NASI Funds are permitted to project the amount of the employer's delinquency using the following formula:

[T]he greater of (a) the average of the monthly payments or reports submitted by the Employer for the last three (3) months for which payments or reports were submitted, or (b) the average of the monthly payments or reports submitted by the Employer for the last twelve (12) months for which payments or reports were submitted . . .

ECF No. 1 ¶ 10: see also ECF No. 7-3 ¶ 16. Additionally, when an employer fails to timely pay required contributions, the employer is obligated to pay liquidated damages under the following calculation:

(1) If payment is not received . . . by the 15th of the month. 10% of the amount [owedj is assessed.
(2) An additional 5% is added if payment is not received ... by the last working day of the month in which payment was due.
(3) An additional 5% is added if payment is not received by the 15th of the month following the month in which payment was due.

ECF No. 1 ¶ 14: ECF No. 7-3 ¶ 20.

         Defendant allegedly failed to pay complete contributions to the NASI Funds for the months of October 2015. November 2015. December 201 5, January 2016. August 2016. and September 2016. See ECF No. 1 ¶ 8. Defendant further failed to pay complete contributions for the months of July 2016 through November 2016 and did not submit reporting forms for these months, Id. ¶ 8. Using the above-mentioned delinquency formula. Plaintiffs claimed a total amount of $90, 446.20 in delinquent contributions from Defendant. See Id. ¶ 9. 11. 15: ECF No. 1-3 at 1. [2] Adding the additional months of November ...


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