United States District Court, D. Maryland
INTERNATIONAL PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, et al. Plaintiffs,
MADISON COATINGS CO., INC. Defendant.
Stephanie A. Gallagher United States District Judge.
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. 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.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND 
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.
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).
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.
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,
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.
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.
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).
Madison's Liability under ERISA
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, ...