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BUILDING SERVICE 32B-J PEN. FD. v. VANDERVEER EST. HLD.

January 17, 2001

BUILDING SERVICE 32B-J PENSION FUND, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
VANDERVEER ESTATES HOLDING, LLC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert W. Sweet, U.S.D.J.

OPINION

Plaintiff Building Service 32B-J Health, Pension and Annuity Funds (the "Funds") have moved for reconsideration and reargument pursuant to Local Rule 6.3, or to alter or amend this Court's November 21, 2000 opinion and order, pursuant to Rules 52(b), 59(e) or 60(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., to the extent that it held that defendant Vanderveer Estates Holding, LLC ("Vanderveer") was not liable for contributions to the Funds after April 20, 2000. Vanderveer opposes the motion.

Also pending are the Funds' motion to hold Vanderveer in contempt for failing to file a $75,000 bond in compliance with this Court's October 5, 2000 opinion, and the parties' proposed judgments.

For the reasons set forth below, both the motion to reconsider and the contempt motion are granted. Judgment shall issue in accordance with this opinion.

The Parties and Related Entities

Local 32B-J, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO ("Union") is a labor organization that represents members employed in the building service industry in metropolitan New York City.

The Funds are jointly administered, multi-employer, labor-management trust Funds based in New York City. The Funds are employee benefit plans that provide benefit coverage for participants employed by employers who are parties to collective bargaining agreements with the Union. The purpose of the Funds is to receive contributions from employers who are parties to collective bargaining agreements with the Union, to invest and maintain those monies, and to distribute pensions, health and insurance benefits, and annuity payments to eligible employees.

The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. ("RAB") is a multi-employer organization which is a signatory to a series of collective bargaining agreements ("CBA") with the Union covering employees of apartment buildings in New York City.

Vanderveer is a for-profit domestic limited liability company based in New York City that owns several buildings in Brooklyn and employs workers covered by the RAB collective bargaining agreement.

Prior Proceedings

The prior proceedings in this case are set forth in two opinions of this Court, familiarity with which is assumed. See Building Service 32B-J Health Fund v. Vanderveer Estates Holding, LLC, 121 F. Supp.2d 750 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); ("Vanderveer II"); Building Service 32B-J Health Fund v. Vanderveer Estates Holding, LLC, 115 F. Supp.2d 459 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("Vanderveer I").

On November 20, 2000, one day before Vanderveer II was issued, the Funds moved to hold Vanderveer in contempt of Vanderveer I, which, although denying the Funds' motion for a preliminary injunction, had ordered Vanderveer to file a $75,000 bond. 115 F. Supp.2d at 464. Vanderveer filed the $75,000 bond on December 13, 2000, and filed its opposition to the contempt motion three days later. The Funds filed a reply on December 19, 2000, and the motion was deemed fully submitted on December 27, 2000.

Meanwhile, the Court issued its opinion on the Funds' motion for summary judgment in Vanderveer II, holding that although Vanderveer was not a signatory to the 1997 RAB Agreement, it was an assignee of a signatory, and was therefore bound to contribute to the Funds. Vanderveer II, 121 F. Supp.2d at 756-57. Vanderveer was found liable for back contributions plus interest from the date it purchased the covered properties to April 20, 2000, when the collective bargaining contract to which it was an assignee expired, in addition to statutory liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Id., 121 F. Supp.2d at 758. The parties were invited to submit documentation calculating these amounts in support of their proposed judgments in accordance with the opinion, id., which they did, from December 7, 2000 through December 15, 2000.

However, the Court abstained from entering a judgment in accordance with Vanderveer II because the Funds filed the instant motion on December 1, 2000, seeking reconsideration of one aspect of that opinion. Specifically, the Funds take issue with the holding that Vanderveer was not obligated to contribute to the Funds after April 20, 2000, when a new agreement was entered (to which Vanderveer was neither a party nor an assignee) that abrogated the prior contract. Vanderveer opposed the motion in a December 26, 2000 filing, and the motion was deemed fully submitted on December 27, 2000.

Discussion

I. The Motion to Alter, Modify or Reconsider a Summary Judgment ...

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