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Board of Trustees v. Fraser

February 14, 2006

BOARD OF TRUSTEES, ADIRONDACK CARPENTERS PENSION FUND; BOARD OF TRUSTEES, CARPENTERS LOCAL 1042/229 HEALTH CARE FUND; AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES, LOCAL 229 CARPENTERS JOINT APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING FUND, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HAROLD J. FRASER, INDIVIDUALLY; AND HAROLD J. FRASER D/B/A HAROLD FRASER CONTRACTING, A/K/A HAROLD J. FRASER D/B/A HILL TOP STOP, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs assert federal claims under the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 ("ERISA"). Plaintiffs also assert state law claims under Article 6 of the New York Labor Law. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants failed to pay contributions to the Adirondack Carpenters Pension Fund ("Pension Fund"), the Carpenters Local 1042/229 Health Care Fund ("Health Care Fund"), and the Local 229 Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund ("Training Fund") in violation of a collective bargaining agreement and memorandum of understanding, in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 1145, and that Defendant Harold J. Fraser is personally liable under 29 U.S.C. § 1109 for the resulting losses and for restoring any profits he earned on the use of the assets. In addition, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants breached the collective bargaining agreement by failing to pay to the Health Care Fund as transfer agent (1) wage withholdings for Dues Check-Off, (2) contributions to the Labor Relations Section of the Champlain Valley Builders Exchange's (the "Association") Industry Advancement Fund ("IAF"), (3) contributions to the New York State Carpenters Labor Management Council ("NYSC/LMC"), and (4) contributions to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Health & Safety Fund of North America, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund of North America, and the Labor Management Education and Development Fund (collectively "U.B.C. Funds").

Plaintiffs also claim that they are entitled to interest on the delinquent fund contributions pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2)(B), interest on the delinquent contributions owed to the Health Care Fund as transfer agent pursuant to § 5004 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules, liquidated damages under ERISA, liquidated damages pursuant to § 198(1-a) of the New York Labor Law, audit costs, attorney's fees and special costs.

Plaintiffs commenced this action on June 2, 2005, and served the complaint on Defendants on June 8, 2005. See Dkt. Nos. 1, 3. Defendants failed to respond to the complaint, and the Clerk of the Court entered default against them on July 28, 2005. See Dkt. No. 6.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion, pursuant to Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for entry of a default judgment in the amount of $13,764.06.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

When a court enters a default judgment, it must "accept[] as true all of the factual allegations of the complaint, except for those relating to damages." See Au Bon Pain Corp. v. Artect, Inc., 653 F.2d 61, 65 (2d Cir. 1981) (citations omitted). With respect to damages, the court must "conduct an inquiry in order to ascertain the amount of damages with reasonable certainty." Credit Lyonnais Secs. (U.S.A.) v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 155 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing Transatlantic Marine Claims Agency, Inc. v. Ace Shipping Corp., 109 F.3d 105, 111 (2d Cir. 1997)). Determining the amount of damages is a two-fold task. See id. First, the court must determine "the proper rule for calculating damages on [the] claim;" then, the court must assess the "plaintiff's evidence supporting the damages to be determined under the rule." Id. In calculating damages, the court "need not agree that the alleged facts constitute a valid cause of action. . . ." Au Bon Pain, 653 F.2d at 65 (citation omitted).

B. Damages

1. ERISA Benefit Funds

Section 1145 of Title 29 of the United States Code provides that

[e]very employer who is obligated to make contributions to a multiemployer plan under the terms of the plan or under the terms of a collectively bargained agreement shall, to the extent not inconsistent with the law, make such contributions in accordance with the terms and conditions of such plan or agreement.

29 U.S.C. § 1145.

When a violation of § 1145 occurs, § 1132(g)(2) provides that,

[i]n any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a judgment in favor of the plan is awarded, the court shall award the plan --

(A) the unpaid contributions,

(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,

(C) an amount equal to the greater of --

(i) interest on the unpaid ...


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