Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

International Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension Fund v. Madison Coatings Co. Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 31, 2019

INTERNATIONAL PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
MADISON COATINGS CO., INC. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Stephanie A. Gallagher United States District Judge.

         In this case, Plaintiffs International Painters and Allied Trade Industry Pension Fund (“Pension Fund”), Tim D. Maitland, a fiduciary on behalf of the Pension Fund, Finishing Trades Institute f/k/a International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund (“FTI”), and the Painters and Allied Trades Labor Management Cooperation Initiative (“LMCI”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) seek unpaid contributions and associated damages from Defendant Madison Coatings Company, Inc. (“Madison”). Plaintiffs have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF 45, with an associated Memorandum of Law, ECF 45-1.[1] I have reviewed those filings, along with Madison's Opposition, ECF 52, and Plaintiffs' Reply, ECF 53. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons addressed herein, the Motion will be granted, and damages awarded as described herein.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND [2]

         On June 7, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in this Court alleging that Madison failed to make contributions required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and governing contracts. ECF 1. Specifically, Madison employed members of local labor unions or district councils affiliated with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (“the Union”) and agreed to abide by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“the CBA”). ECF 45-3, ¶¶ 4-5, 7-8. The CBA, along with the Agreement and Declaration of Trust of the Fund (“Trust Agreement”), established and maintained the Pension Fund. Id. ¶¶ 4-6. The Pension Fund is an “employee benefit pension plan” as defined by ERISA. Id. ¶ 2.

         As a corporate employer using Union employees, Madison agreed to abide by the terms of the CBA and the Trust Agreement. Id. ¶ 5. Those obligations included making full and timely payment on a monthly basis to the Funds as required by the CBA, Trust Agreement, and plan documents, and filing timely remittance reports with the Pension Fund detailing all the employees or work for which contributions were required under the CBA. Id. ¶ 6. A failure to comply with those obligations subjects an employer to damages including liquidated damages, interest, audit costs, and litigation costs, including attorneys' fees. ECF 45-9 at 72, ¶ 10.11(b).

         In July, 2016, an auditor retained by Plaintiffs conducted an audit of Madison's payroll records. ECF 45-3, ¶ 8; ECF 45-11. The audit revealed a substantial delinquency in contributions. ECF 45-11 at 3. Madison disputed the audit's findings on several grounds, resulting in some significant reductions in the amount sought by Plaintiffs. ECF 45-3, ¶ 8(b)-(g); ECF 45-15 at 3.

         Pertinent to the parties' remaining dispute, in 2015, and again in 2018, Madison reached settlement agreements with employee benefit funds (“the Local NY Funds”) associated with two local New York chapters, Local Union No. 806 and District Council 9. ECF 52, Ex. D, F. The 2015 and 2018 settlement agreements included payment of “benefit fund contributions to the Local 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painters of Greater New York Employee Trust Funds and the District Council 9 Painting Industry Insurance & Annuity Funds, ” ECF 52 at 49 (Ex. F), along with contributions owed to one of the Local NY Union chapters, the Local 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painters of Greater New York, id.

         The Parties to the settlement agreements were the Local NY Funds and Madison, not Local Union No. 806 or District Council 9 themselves. See ECF 52 at 41 (Ex. D) (“THIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT has been entered into between the Trustees of the District Council 9 Painting Industry Insurance & Annuity Funds and Structural Steel and Bridge Painters Local Union No. 806 Funds” and Madison); id. at 49 (Ex. F) (“THIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT has been entered into between the Trustees of the Local 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painters of Greater New York Employee Trust Funds and the Trustees of the District Council 9 Painting Industry Insurance & Annuity Funds” and Madison). Although the Settlement Agreements purported to collect “Pension” contributions, in addition to contributions to the Local NY Funds themselves, id. at 47 (Ex. E); id. at 52 (Ex. G), the agreements do not specify where, if anywhere, the Local NY Funds would remit the “pension” amounts collected. Plaintiffs acknowledge receipt of one check from the Local NY Funds for $33, 400.50, collected on the Pension Fund's behalf in connection with the 2015 settlement agreement. ECF 45-3, ¶ 8(b). Plaintiffs credited the check against Madison's delinquency. Id.

         Plaintiffs also submitted a Declaration of Judith Sznyter, Esq. in connection with their Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF 45-25. Ms. Sznyter's declaration supported Plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $117, 726.66. ECF 45-2 at 39; 45-25.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that the court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party, bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine dispute of material facts. See Casey v. Geek Squad, 823 F.Supp.2d 334, 348 (D. Md. 2011). If the moving party establishes that there is no evidence to support the non-movant's case, the burden then shifts to the non-movant to proffer specific facts to show a genuine issue exists for trial. Id. The non-movant must provide enough admissible evidence to “carry the burden of proof at trial.” Id. at 349 (quoting Mitchell v. Data Gen. Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1315-16 (4th Cir. 1993)). The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is insufficient; rather, there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the non-movant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Moreover, a genuine issue of material fact cannot rest on “mere speculation, or building one inference upon another.” Casey, 823 F.Supp.2d at 349. Additionally, summary judgment shall be warranted if the non-moving party fails to provide evidence that establishes an essential element of the case. The non-movant “must produce competent evidence on each element of his or her claim.” Miskin v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 107 F.Supp.2d 669, 671 (D. Md. 1999). If the non-movant fails to do so, “there can be no genuine issue as to any material fact, ” because the failure to prove an essential element of the case “necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); see also Casey, 823 F.Supp.2d at 348-49. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the facts and inferences “in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986).

         III.DISCUSSION

         A. Madison's Liability under ERISA

         Although many of the facts in this case are undisputed, Madison suggests that the overall audit results “are suspect” given the several issues that have subsequently been resolved, in Madison's favor, between the parties. ECF 52 at 9. Madison concedes that it owes contributions to Plaintiffs in the amount of $13, 032.33, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.