United States District Court, D. Maryland
TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL ASBESTOS WORKERS MEDICAL FUND ET AL., Plaintiffs,
WRAP IT UP CONSTRUCTION, LLC, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Stephanie A. Gallagher United States Magistrate Judge.
Report and Recommendations addresses the Motion for Default
Judgment (ECF No. 10, as revised by ECF No. 14) filed by the
Plaintiffs, Trustees of the National Asbestos Workers Medical
Fund (the “Medical Fund”) and Trustees of the
National Asbestos Workers Pension Fund (the “Pension
Fund”) (collectively the “Funds”) against
Defendant Wrap It Up Construction, LLC
(“Defendant”). [ECF Nos. 10, 14]. The Defendant
has not filed an opposition, and its deadline has now passed.
On September 10, 2018, Judge Chuang referred this case to me
to review Plaintiffs' motion and to make recommendations
concerning damages. [ECF No. 12]. I find that no hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the
reasons discussed below, I recommend that Plaintiffs'
revised motion be GRANTED, that damages be awarded as set
forth herein, and that this case be CLOSED.
Plaintiffs in this action are two trustees of multiemployer
plans, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(“ERISA”). Am. Compl. ¶ 2. The Defendant
currently employs, and has employed, individuals who are
represented by the Asbestos Workers Local Union No. 46
(“the Union”). Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2-3, 6. On
April 30, 2017, the Defendant entered into a Collective
Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with the Union.
Pls.'s Revised Mot. Ex. B. The CBA requires the Defendant
to contribute fixed amounts “for each employee and
transmit [the amounts] in his/her name to the National
Asbestos Workers Medical Fund and the National Asbestos
Workers Pension Fund” (collectively “the
also binds the Defendant to the terms and conditions of
several Declarations of Trust (“Trust
Agreements”). Pls.'s Revised Mot. Exs. B, C,
The Trust Agreements require the Defendant to submit monthly
contribution payments and contribution reports, which
identify the employees for whom payments have been made and
the hours that the employees worked. Pls.'s Revised Mot.
Exs. C, D. The Trust Agreements state that if the employer
fails to submit timely contributions and contribution reports
to the Funds, liquidated damages will be assessed in an
amount equal to the greater of $20 per delinquency or 20% of
the amount of the contribution or contributions due. See
Id. The Medical Fund Trust Agreement allows Plaintiffs
to assess the rate of interest upon the employer's
failure to promptly submit contributions at 1 ½% per
month. Pls.'s Revised Mot. Ex. C. The Pension Fund Trust
Agreement allows Plaintiffs to assess the rate of interest at
8% per annum or double interest, as provided in the
Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”). Pls.'s Revised Mot. Ex. D.
Trust Agreements further require the employer to permit a
“qualified representative to conduct an audit of the
payroll, wage and other records of any Employer to permit the
Trustees to determine whether such Employer is making full
payments to the Fund in the amounts required by the
Collective Bargaining Agreement.” Pls.'s Revised
Mot. Exs. C, D. If the Board of Trustees files suit against
the employer for a delinquency owed to the Funds, the Trust
Agreements provide that the employer in default must pay
“[a]ll reasonable expenses incurred by the Fund in
enforcing the payment of contributions and other amounts due,
including but not limited to, reasonable attorneys' fees,
accountants' or auditor's fees, as provided in this
Trust, and court costs shall be added to the obligation of
the defaulting Employer in addition to the amount of
contributions due and the liquidated damages and interest
provided for above.” Id.
25, 2018, the Plaintiffs filed suit against the Defendant for
the Defendant's failure to comply with the terms of the
CBA and Trust Agreements. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4-14.
Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiffs' Complaint. On
August 30, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Entry of
Default with the Clerk's Office, which was granted on
September 6, 2018. [ECF Nos. 9, 11]. The instant motion
followed, and was revised on September 28, 2018, following an
inquiry from this Court. [ECF Nos. 10, 13, 14]. The
Plaintiffs allege that Defendant failed to pay complete
contributions to the Funds in the amount of $66, 436.30 for
work performed during the months December 2017 and January
2018. Pls.'s Revised Mot. ¶ 1. The Plaintiffs also
allege that Defendant untimely submitted its contribution
payments for work performed during the months of August,
2017, through February, 2018, resulting in an assessment of
$18, 504.41 in liquidated damages and $12, 260.18 in
interest. Compl. ¶¶ 9-14; Pls.'s Revised Mot.
¶ 2. The Plaintiffs also seek attorneys' fees and
costs in the amount of $2, 302.50. Pls.'s Revised Mot.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing the Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment,
the court accepts as true the well-pleaded factual
allegations in the complaint as to liability. Ryan v.
Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780-81 (4th Cir.
2001). It, however, remains for the court to determine
whether these unchallenged factual allegations constitute a
legitimate cause of action. Id.; see also
10A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2688 (3d ed. Supp. 2010)
(“[L]iability is not deemed established simply because
of the default . . . and the court, in its discretion, may
require some proof of the facts that must be established in
order to determine liability.”).
court determines that liability is established, the court
must then determine the appropriate amount of damages.
Ryan, 253 F.3d at 780-81. The court does not accept
factual allegations regarding damages as true, but rather
must make an independent determination regarding such
allegations. See, e.g., Credit Lyonnais Secs.
(USA), Inc. v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 154 (2d Cir.
1999). In so doing, the court may conduct an evidentiary
hearing. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). The court can also make a
determination of damages without a hearing so long as there
is an adequate evidentiary basis in the record for an award.
See, e.g., Adkins v. Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d
15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001) (court need not make determination of
damages following entry of default through hearing, but
rather may rely on detailed affidavits or documentary
evidence to determine the appropriate sum); see also Trs.
of the Nat'l Asbestos Workers Pension Fund v. Ideal
Insulation Inc., Civil No. ELH-11-832, 2011 WL 5151067,
at *4 (D. Md. Oct. 27, 2011) (determining, in a case of
default judgment against an employer, “the Court may
award damages without a hearing if the record supports the
damages requested.”); Pentech Fin. Servs. Inc. v.
Old Dominion Saw Works, Inc., Civ. No. 6:09cv00004, 2009
WL 1872535, at *2 (W.D. Va. June 30, 2009) (concluding that
there was “no need to convene a formal evidentiary
hearing on the issue of damages” after default judgment
where plaintiff submitted affidavits and electronic records
establishing the amount of damages sought); JTH Tax, Inc.
v. Smith, No. 2:06CV76, 2006 WL 1982762, at *3 (E.D. Va.
June 23, 2006) (“If the defendant does not contest the
amount pleaded in the complaint and the claim is for a sum
that is certain or easily computable, the judgment can be
entered for that amount without further hearing.”).
(1) the court must determine whether the unchallenged facts
in Plaintiffs' Complaint constitute a legitimate cause of
action, and, if they do, (2) the court must make an
independent determination regarding the appropriate amount of
Plaintiffs have brought this suit pursuant to § 301 of
the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), as
amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185. ...