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Trustees of National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Welfare Fund v. Bristol Fire Protection, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

February 26, 2018

TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER INDUSTRY WELFARE FUND, el a!., Plaintiffs,
v.
BRISTOL FIRE PROTECTION, INC. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES 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 Bristol Fire Protection. Inc. under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), as amended by the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980. 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 el 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 Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow. Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment is granted, in part. Judgment is entered against Defendant in the total amount of §12.548.80.

         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 are 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 Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Unions No. 669 (the " union") and Defendant, Id. The NASI Funds are administered at 8000 Corporate Drive, handover. Maryland 20785. Id.

         Defendant is a corporation existing under the laws of the State of Connecticut with offices located in Connecticut. Id. ¶ 3. Defendant transacts business in the State of Connecticut as a contractor or subcontractor in the sprinkler industry, and at all times relevant to the action was an "employer in an industry affecting commerce" as defined by ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(5). (9), (11). (12) and (14). the Labor-Management Relations Act ("LMRA"). 29 U.S.C. §§ 142(1). (3) and 152(2), and Section 3 of the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Amendments of 1980, 29 U.S.C. § 1001(a). Id.,

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendant entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union establishing terms and conditions of employment for journeymen and apprentice sprinkler filters. Id. ¶ 4. Pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. 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 Agreement and was bound to the Trust Agreements and the Guidelines for Participation in the NASI Funds ("Guidelines"). Id. ¶¶ 5. 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 ¶ 9; ECF No. 7-8 at 26. 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 [owed] 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. 7-8 at 24.

         According to the Complaint. Defendant employed individuals covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement from February 2015 through the present but failed to make the required contributions to the NASI Funds and report hours worked by its employees for the months of August 2016 through January 201 7. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 6. 8. Further. Defendant's contributions for the months of February 2015 through April 20] 5. June 201 5. September 2015. November 2015. December 2015, April 2016, and June 201 6 were paid late. Id. ¶ 11. In their Complaint. Plaintiffs request $13, 036.53 for contributions due for work performed from August 2016 through January 2017. liquidated damages in the amount of $7, 952.01 assessed on the late contributions. contributions and liquidated damages that become due subsequent to filing the Complaint, and costs, interest, and reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g). See ECF No. 1.

         Subsequent to filing the Complaint. Plaintiffs served Defendant and a Summons was returned as executed on March 1. 2017. Sec ECF Nos. 3. 4. With no Answer having been filed, Plaintiffs moved for an entry of default against Defendant on May 11, 2017. ECF No. 6. and the Clerk entered default against Defendant on June 7. 2017. ECF No. 8. In their Motion for Default Judgment, which was served on Defendant. Plaintiffs allege that subsequent to tiling their Complaint, Defendant submitted reports and paid contributions owed for work performed during the period ...


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