United States District Court, D. Maryland
TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER INDUSTRY WELFARE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
MARION FIRE SPRINKLER & ALARM, INC., Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Honorable Gina L. Simms United States Magistrate Judge
Report and Recommendation addresses the “Motion for
Entry of Default Judgment” filed by Trustees of the
following: (a) the National Automatic Sprinkler Industry
Welfare Fund; (b) the National Automatic Sprinkler Industry
Pension Fund; (c) the Sprinkler Industry Supplemental Pension
Fund; and (d) the International Training Fund (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”). (ECF No. 8). Plaintiffs
brought this action under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145,
(“ERISA”) to recover delinquent contributions and
related relief from Marion Fire Sprinkler & Alarm, Inc.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636, and Local Rule 301, the Honorable
Theodore D. Chuang referred this matter to me to author a
report and to make recommendations. I do not believe that a
hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. As set forth more fully
below, I ultimately recommend that Plaintiffs' motion for
default judgment be GRANTED, and that damages be awarded as
set forth herein.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Factual Background: The Collective Bargaining Agreement
and the Collective Funds
the Trustees, are authorized collection fiduciaries and
agents for the four funds (the “Collective
Funds”). The facts, as set forth by Plaintiffs, are
that on February 11, 2014,  the Defendant entered into a
Collective Bargaining Agreement (“Agreement”)
with the Sprinkler Fitters and Apprentices Local Union No.
268, St. Louis, Missouri, of the United Association of
Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
Industry of the United States and Canada (“Local Union
No. 268”). Pursuant to that Agreement, all the
Defendant's current and future employees would become
members of Local Union No. 268 as a condition of their
employment. (ECF No. 8-5). The Agreement was signed by the
Defendant's President, Andrew J. Allen, and by Michael R.
Mahler, Business Manager, on behalf of Local Union No. 268.
(ECF No. 8-4).
to the “Guidelines for Participation in the Sprinkler
Industry Trust Funds” (the “Guidelines”),
the Defendant was required to submit to the Trustees of the
Collective Funds monthly reports of the hours worked by all
covered employees. (ECF No. 8-10). It is from those reports
that the Trustees determine the amount of contributions owed
by the Defendant. (ECF No. 8-3). The Agreement contains
several articles requiring the Defendant's participation
in and contribution to the Collective Funds. (ECF No. 8-5).
The Agreement's articles that are germane to this case
are set forth immediately below.
first of the Agreement's financial obligations concerns
the health and welfare of Defendant's employees. Article
14 stipulates that a health and welfare fund was established
for the participation of Defendant's employees covered
under the Agreement. (ECF 8-5). In addition, Article 14
requires the Defendant to contribute a predetermined amount
of money for each hour worked by all its employees.
(Id.). This fund is called the National Automatic
Sprinkler Industry Welfare Fund. (ECF No. 8-6).
next financial obligation pertains to contributions to the
National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Pension Fund. (ECF No.
8-7). Pursuant to Article 15, the parties agreed that each
contractor member would contribute a predetermined amount per
hour for all hours worked by all covered employees. (ECF No.
third financial obligation of the Agreement concerns
contributions to an international training fund. Article 19
provides that, to carry out the functions of the
International Training Fund, a contractor member is required
to contribute ten cents per hour for all hours worked by all
covered employees to the national office for the fund. (ECF
No. 8-5). Those monies are then forwarded from the
Trustee of the International Training Fund to a fund called
the “United Association International Training
fourth financial obligation relates to contributions to a
supplemental pension fund. Pursuant to Article 22 of the
Agreement, the Defendant agreed that a supplemental pension
fund, ultimately called the “Sprinkler Industry
Supplemental Pension Fund, ” was established for all
covered employees. (ECF Nos. 8-5; 8-8). Defendant
acknowledged that, by executing the Agreement, it was joining
in and subscribing to the “Declaration of Trust”
and any future amendments governing the supplemental pension
terms outlining the due date for the reports and
contributions to the Collective Funds are set forth within
the Guidelines. (ECF Nos. 8-3; 8-10). The Defendant is to
provide its reports, as well as its contributions to the
Collective Funds, by no later than the “15th
of the month following the month in which the work was
performed” or 15 days following the end of the
preceding month. (ECF No. 8-10). If the Plaintiffs did not
timely receive the report and contributions, then the
Defendant is advised of the delinquency, and interest of 12%
per annum would be assessed on any late contributions to the
Collective Funds. (Id.). If the contributions are
more than 60 days late, liquidated damages, correlated to the
number of days that a payment was delinquent, are called for.
March 14, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against the
Defendant alleging a breach of the Agreement and seeking to
collect unpaid contributions due to the Collective Funds, as
well as liquidated damages, accrued interest, court costs,
and reasonable attorney's fees. (ECF No. 1).
April 17, 2018, Plaintiffs served the Complaint on the
Defendant. (ECF No. 5). An affidavit completed by a private
process server describes the date and time that
Defendant's Resident Agent, Andrew Allen, was served with
the summons, Complaint, and supporting documentation. (ECF
No. 5). The executed summons was returned and filed with the
Court on June 13, 2018. (Id.). The Defendant did not
file an Answer or otherwise respond within the 21-day period
provided for by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(“Fed.R.Civ.P.”), which was May 8, 2018. (ECF No.
6). On June 20, 2018, the Honorable Theodore D. Chuang
ordered Plaintiffs to file and serve a Motion for Clerk's
Entry of Default within seven days, or to show cause as to
why such motion would be inappropriate. (ECF No. 6).
27, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a “Motion for Clerk's
Entry of Default.” (ECF No. 7). That same day,
Plaintiffs filed a “Motion for Entry of Default
Judgment.” (ECF No. 8). In support of their motion,
Plaintiffs appended many documents: (1) the Agreement; (2)
the Guidelines; (3) Restated Trust Agreements establishing
each of the relevant Collective Funds; (4) a spreadsheet
containing the outstanding contributions owed to the
Collective Funds; (5) a declaration from the Assistant Fund
Administrator of the Collective Funds, John P. Eger; and (6)
a declaration and summary from Charles W. Gilligan, Esq.,
regarding attorney's fees and costs. (ECF Nos. 8-3; 8-6
through 8-13). On July 2, 2018, the Clerk of the Court
entered default against the Defendant. (ECF No. 9).