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FLYNN v. ANTHONY MION & SONS

July 29, 2003

JOHN FLYNN, LOUIS WEIR, DOMINIC SPANO, KENNETH LAMBERT, FRANK STUPAR, JOHN T. JOYCE, JAMES BOLAND, GERALD O'MALLEY, GEORGE HARBISON, PAUL SONGER, CHARLES VELARDO, EUGENE GEORGE, MATTHEW AQUILINE, DAN SCHIFFER, JOSEPH SPERANZA, JR., AND VINCENT DELAZZERO, AS TRUSTEES OF, AND ON BEHALF OF, THE BRICKLAYERS & TROWEL TRADES INTERNATIONAL PENSION FUND, PLAINTIFFS, VS. ANTHONY MION & SONS, INC., DEFENDANT.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: David Hurd, District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, the trustees of the Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Pension Fund (the "IPF") and the IPF, commenced the instant action pursuant to section 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1145, seeking to collect contributions from defendant Anthony Mion & Sons, Inc. allegedly due under the terms of the "traveling contractors" clause of the collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") entered into between defendant and the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 2 ("Local 2"). Plaintiffs also seek dues checkoffs allegedly owed to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers ("BAC") pursuant to section 301 of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185. Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

Defendant cross-moves to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.56. The motions were taken on submit without oral argument.

II. FACTS

The IPF is a multiemployer employee benefit plan governed by ERISA. (Pls.'s SMF at ¶ 1.)*fn1 The IPF provides pension and other benefits to employees who work in the construction industry under contracts negotiated between local unions and employers. (Id.) Pursuant to these contracts, employers are obligated to make contributions to the IPF on behalf of the IPF's participants and beneficiaries. (Id.)

Defendant is a New York employer engaged in the tile setting business (Id. at ¶ 7.) Defendant is located in Schenectady, New York. (Def.'s SMF. at ¶ 1.) Defendant is a signatory to three collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") requiring contributions to the IPF and other funds: (1) an agreement with Bricklayers Local 2 of Albany, generally covering the upstate New York area ("Local 2"); (2) an agreement with Local 7 of New York City, generally covering the New York — New Jersey area ("Local 7"); and (3) an agreement with Massachusetts Local 1, generally covering the area around Springfield, Massachusetts ("Local 1"). (Pls.'s SMF at ¶ 8.) Local 2 is defendant's "home" union. (Def.'s SMF at ¶¶ 2-4, 8, 11, 14.) Defendant's employees are members of Local 2. (Id.)

The CBAs required defendant to file reports and make contributions to various funds, including the IPF, for covered work. (Pls.'s SMF at ¶ 9.) For work performed within the jurisdiction of Local 2, defendant made contributions to the Local 2 funds at rates specified in the Local 2 CBA. Work performed outside of the Local 2 jurisdiction was covered by the "traveling contractors" clause. The traveling contractors clause provides that:

When the Employer has any work specified in Article XVI [Article 1] of this Agreement to be performed outside of the area covered by this Agreement and within the area covered by an agreement with another affiliate of the [International] Union [of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen], the Employer agrees to abide by the full terms and conditions of the Agreement in effect in the job site area. Employees covered by this Agreement who are sent to projects outside the area covered by this Agreement shall be paid at least the established minimum wage scale specified in Section 1 of the Article [Article III] but in no case less than the established minimum wage scale of the local Agreement covering the territory in which such work is being performed, plus all contributions specified in the job site local Agreement.
(Id. at ¶ 12.)*fn2

Defendant performed work outside the geographical area of Local 2. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Where defendant performed work within the geographical area of a union other than Local 2 and used workers from the other union, defendant paid benefits and union dues for those workers to the relevant local union. (Def.'s SMF at ¶ 9.) Defendant paid these dues and enefit contributions at the rate specified in the local CBA (not at the rates contained in the Local 2 CBA). (Pls.'s SMF at ¶ 23.)*fn3 When defendant performed work outside the geographical area of Local 2, but workers from the local union were unavailable, defendant would send its Local 2 employees to the work site. (Def.'s SMF at ¶ 7.) In such circumstances, defendant would pay union dues for its Local 2 employees to the local jurisdiction, but would pay all fringe benefits to the Local 2 funds; not to the funds of the local jurisdiction. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Defendant paid fringe benefits in accordance with the rates specified in the Local 2 CBA; not at the rates of the local jurisdiction. (Pls.'s SMF at ¶ 23.)*fn4

Plaintiffs commenced the instant action claiming that it and other BAC affiliated funds are owed contributions for work performed under the traveling contractors clause. Plaintiffs contend that for those instances where defendant performed work outside the Local 2 area using Local 2 workers, it was obligated to make contributions to the funds of the local jurisdiction (and not to the Local 2 funds) and at the rates specified in the local jurisdiction's CBA or local job site agreement (not the rates specified in the Local 2 CBA).

Plaintiffs seek to recoup the amounts that they claim should have been paid at the local funds' rates; that is, the difference between the amounts defendant paid to the Local 2 funds at the Local 2 rates and the rates set forth in the local CBAs or local job site agreements where the work was actually performed. Plaintiffs also seek to collect dues checkoffs allegedly owed the BAC.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A moving party is entitled to summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The ultimate inquiry is whether a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented, the legitimate inferences that could be drawn from that evidence in favor of the nonmoving party, and the applicable burden of proof. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). In determining a motion for summary judgment, all inferences to be drawn from the facts contained in the exhibits and depositions "must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); Hawkins v. Steingut, 829 F.2d 317, 319 (2d Cir. 1987). Nevertheless, "[t]he litigant opposing summary judgment . . . `may not rest upon mere conclusory allegations or denials' as a vehicle for obtaining a trial." Quinn v. Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir. 1980) (quoting SEC v. Research Automation Corp., 585 F.2d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 1978)).

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Standing

Defendant claims that plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the instant action. Defendant's argument is that: (1) it made all required contributions to the IPF and, thus, plaintiffs have not sustained any injury; (2) it is not subject to the terms of the IPF Trust Agreement; and (3) the IPF is not the proper party to assert violations of the terms of the Trust Agreement, the CBA or any other alleged obligation providing authority to require defendant to make payment to the IPF.

1. Injury In Fact

With respect to defendant's first standing argument, plaintiffs are seeking to recover deficient contributions to the IPF itself (i.e. the difference between the contributions defendant made into the home fund at the home fund rate and the contribution rate applicable to the particular jobsite). ...


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