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Trustees of Ironworker Local Union No.16 v. Ole Men & Sons, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 20, 2019

TRUSTEES OF THE IRONWORKER LOCAL UNION NO. 16, PENSION PLAN et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
OLE MEN & SONS, LLC Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          J. Mark Coulson United States Magistrate Judge

         This Report and Recommendations addresses Plaintiffs’ Motion for Default Judgment. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiffs include the following entities:

a. Trustees of the Ironworkers Local Union Number 16 Pension Plan,
b. Trustees of the Ironworkers Local Union No. 16 Health Fund,
c. Trustees of the Ironworkers Local No. 5 Apprentice Fund,
d. Trustees of the Iron Workers Local No. 16 Vacation Fund (collectively the “Ironworkers Funds”),
e. Trustees of the Mid-Atlantic States District Council Participating Locals Annuity Fund (“Annuity Fund”),
f. Ironworkers Industry Advancement Fund,
g. Ironworker-Management Progressive Action Cooperative Fund (collectively the “Industry Funds”),
h. Local Union No. 5 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers (hereinafter “Union” or “Local 5”) is an unincorporated labor organization, as that term is defined in the Labor-Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 152(5). Local 5 is the successor to Local 16, having been merged into Local 5, effective January 3, 2017.

         The Ironworker Funds and Annuity Fund are employee benefit plans organized under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 1–2). The Industry Funds are trust funds provided for under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Id. ¶ 4. All are governed by their respective Agreements and Declarations of Trust. Id. ¶¶ 1–2; ECF 15-4 ¶¶ 5–6. All are financed by payments made by employers pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and Local 5. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 4, 10–12; ECF No. 15-4 ¶ 7).

         Defendant Ole Men & Sons, LLC (“Ole Men”) is an iron contractor or subcontractor in the construction and related industries. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 6). Ole Men was bound to a collective bargaining agreement with Local 5 providing for, inter alia, payments by Ole Men to the above funds. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 10; ECF No. 15-3 ¶¶ 4–5; ECF No. 15-4 ¶ 7; ECF No. 15-2 ¶¶ 5–6).

         On August 27, 2019, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636, and Local Rules 301 and 302, Judge Hollander referred this case to me to review Plaintiffs’ motion and to make recommendations concerning damages. (ECF No. 16). I have reviewed Plaintiffs’ motion and accompanying attachments. I find that a hearing is unnecessary. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2); Loc. R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, I respectfully recommend that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Default Judgment be GRANTED, and that damages be awarded as set forth herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendant, Ole Men, entered into a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with Local 5’s predecessor, Local 16, on or about June 14, 2016. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 10). The CBA established terms and conditions of employment for journeymen and apprentice ironworkers employed by Defendant. Id. Pursuant to the CBA, Ole Men agreed to make certain payments to the Ironworkers, Annuity and Industry Funds (collectively, the “Funds”) on behalf of its employees performing worked covered by the CBA. Id. ¶¶ 12–13. The CBA also required Ole Men to deduct dues and other assessments (collectively “contributions”) for Local 5 from the wages of employees who authorized those deductions. Id. ¶ 13.

         Under the CBA and the Agreements and Declarations of Trust, Ole Men was obligated to make full and timely payment of these contributions monthly to the Funds, along with monthly remittance reports identifying hours worked by the employees covered by the CBA and the amount of contributions payable for each employee. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 14). These contributions were due by the 15th day of the month following the month in which the employees worked. Id. An employer is deemed in default if contributions are not received in the applicable time period. Id. This cause of action is premised on the contention that Ole Men failed to pay contributions due for work performed in the months of January 2017, May 2017 and through July 2017, and May 2018 through August 2018. Id. ¶ 15–16. On this basis, Plaintiffs claim the unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, interest, and attorney’s fees.

         In support of their motion, Plaintiffs attached the Declarations of:April Brown, an account executive at Lawrence Musgrove (a third party administrator for the Annuity Fund) (ECF No. 15-2); Ray Cleland, President and Business Agent for the Union; (ECF No. 15-3); Kathy Cole, an account executive at Zenith American Solutions (a third party administrator for the Iron Worker Funds) (ECF No. 15-4); and Rebecca Richardson (Plaintiffs’ counsel) (ECF No. 15-5).

         On January 29, 2019, the Clerk of this Court entered an entry of Default as to Ole Men. On that date, the Court provided Ole Men with a notice of its default and an opportunity to cure, which it failed to do. On March 15, 2019, Plaintiff Filed a Motion for Default Judgment. (ECF No. 15). Ole Men did not file an opposition, and the deadline to do so now has passed. See Local Rule 105.2a (D. Md. 2018).

         II. STANDARD FOR ...


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