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Joseph v. Boening Bros.

March 16, 2012

JOSEPH WOJCIECHOWSKI, THOMAS ROSANO, WARREN MARSH, JOHN COTOGGIO, EDWARD WEBER, JOSEPH MEMORANDUM AND VITTA, AND JOHN ULRICH IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS TRUSTEES OF LOCAL 812 HEALTH FUND, JOSEPH WOJCIECHOWSKI, THOMAS ROSANO, JOSEPH VITTA, STANLEY ISRAEL, RODNEY BRAYMAN, AND GERARD COTTRELL IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS TRUSTEES OF SOFT DRINK & BREWERY WORKERS UNION, LOCAL 812, RETIREMENT FUND, LOCAL 812 HEALTH FUND, SOFT DRINK & BREWERY WORKERS UNION, LOCAL 812 RETIREMENT FUND, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BOENING BROS., INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denis R. Hurley Unites States District Judge

By: Eugene T. D'Ablemont HURLEY, Senior District Judge:

ORDER

Plaintiffs Joseph Wojciechowski, Thomas Rosano, Warren Marsh, John Cotoggio, Edward Weber, Joseph Vitta, and John Ulrich, in their capacities as trustees of the Local 812 Health Fund (the "Health Fund Trustees"), as well as Joseph Wojciechowski, Thomas Rosano, Joseph Vitta, Stanley Israel, Rodney Brayman, and Gerard Cottrell, in their capacities as trustees fo the Soft Drink & Brewery Workers Union, Local 812, Retirement Fund (the "Retirement Fund Trustees") (collectively, the "Trustees"), the Local 812 Health Fund (the "Health Fund"), and the Soft Drink & Brewery Workers Union, Local 812, Retirement Fund (the "Retirement Fund") (collectively, the "Funds") commenced this action pursuant to Sections 502(a)(3) and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(3) and 1145 ("ERISA") and Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185 ("LMRA"). Plaintiffs allege that defendant Boening Bros., Inc. ("defendant" or "Boening") violated the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the respective trust agreements of the Funds, and ERISA by failing to cooperate in the Funds' audit of defendant's books and records. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief and an award of costs and attorneys' fees.

Presently before the Court is plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion is denied and defendant's motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

The material facts, drawn from the parties' pleadings, Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statements, and evidentiary submissions, are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

The Parties

The Health Fund and the Retirement Fund are both multiemployer, labor-management trust funds established and maintained pursuant to their respective trust agreements and various collective bargaining agreements in accordance with Section 302(c)(5) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5). (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 5.) The Health Fund is an "employee welfare benefit plan," an "employee benefit plan," and a "multiemployer plan" within the meaning of ERISA. (Id. ¶ 4.) The Health Fund "receives contributions from employers who are parties to collective bargaining agreements with Soft Drinks, Brewery Workers and Delivery Employees, Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, Greater New York and Vicinity, Local Union No. 812, International Brotherhood of Teamsters" (the "Union"), and then invests and maintains such money and provides health and insurance benefits to eligible employee and their dependents. (Id.)

The Retirement Fund is an "employee pension benefit plan," an "employee benefit plan," and a "multiemployer plan" under ERISA. (Id. ¶ 5.) The Retirement Fund receives contributions from employers who are parties to collective bargaining agreements with the Union, invests and maintains such money, and provides pension and retirement benefits to eligible employees and their dependants. (Id.) The Health Fund Trustees and the Retirement Fund Trustees are fiduciaries of the Health Fund and Retirement Fund, respectively, pursuant to ERISA. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 7.)

Defendant is a "family-owned beer distributor located in Suffolk County." (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 1.)

The Collective Bargaining Agreement

Boening and the Union (or its predecessor union) have been parties to a series of successive collective bargaining agreements dating back to at least 1973. (Id. ¶ 3.) The relevant collective bargaining agreements were effective between June 1, 2002 and May 31, 2007 (the "First CBA"), and June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2011 (the "Second CBA") (collectively, the "CBA").*fn1 (See Decl. of Thomas A. Thompson, Esq., dated Mar. 7, 2011 "Thompson Decl.", Exs. C, D.) The bargaining unit covered by the CBA includes all Boening employees working as drivers, driver-helpers, warehousemen, and preventive maintenance mechanics. (Id., Ex. C at 1, Ex. D at 1.) Boening asserts that it employs approximately 28 bargaining unit employees. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 4.) The CBA expressly excludes the following employees from the bargaining unit: executives, supervisors, salesmen, clerical employees, guards, draft technicians, and all other employees. (Thompson Decl., Ex. C at 1, Ex. D at 1.) Boening employs approximately 101 employees who are expressly excluded from the bargaining unit. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 5.)

The Trust Agreements

The Health Fund has continuously operated under the Local 812 Health Fund Trust Agreement since June 21, 1996. (Pls.' 56.1 ¶ 3.) The Retirement Fund has continuously operated under the Local 812 Retirement Fund Trust Agreement since December 13, 1995. (Id. ¶

5.) Boening is not a signatory to either Trust Agreement, and the Trust Agreements are not incorporated by reference or mentioned ...


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