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Onondaga County Laborers' Health and Welfare, Pension, Annuity and Training Funds v. Maxim Construction Service Corp.

June 15, 2006

ONONDAGA COUNTY LABORERS' HEALTH AND WELFARE, PENSION, ANNUITY AND TRAINING FUNDS, BY JANET M. MORRO, AS FUND ADMINISTRATOR; AND CONSTRUCTION AND GENERAL LABORERS' LOCAL UNION NO. 633, BY GABRIEL ROSETTI, AS BUSINESS MANAGER, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MAXIM CONSTRUCTION SERVICE CORP.; BARBARA SLATE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN OFFICER OF MAXIM CONSTRUCTION SERVICE CORP.; AND JAMES MALVASI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN OFFICER OF MAXIM CONSTRUCTION SERVICE CORP., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION*fn1

On December 22, 2005, Plaintiffs commenced this action against Defendant Maxim Construction Service Corporation ("Defendant Corporation"), Defendant Barbara Slate, President of Defendant Corporation, and Defendant James Malvasi pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et. seq., the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), and the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement and Agreements and Declarations of Trust. Specifically, Plaintiffs sought to collect "delinquent fringe benefit contributions, deductions, interest, liquidated damages, costs and disbursements, and attorneys' fees due and owing to multi-employer benefit plans and a labor organization." See Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law at 1.

Defendants failed to answer or respond to the complaint, and Plaintiffs requested that the Clerk of the Court enter default against them pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, see Dkt. No. 6, which the Clerk of the Court did on February 1, 2006, see Dkt. No. 7. 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 $17,232.43 in interest, liquidated damages and attorney's fees and costs.

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 those relating to damages." 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.), Inc. 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 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 contributions, or

(ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an amount not in excess of 20 percent (or such higher percentage as may be permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount ...


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