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Trustees of Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A Funds v. Prestige Restoration & Maintenance, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 26, 2013

TRUSTEES OF THE METAL POLISHERS LOCAL 8A-28A FUNDS, Plaintiff,
v.
PRESTIGE RESTORATION AND MAINTENANCE, LLC, Defendant

Page 160

For Trustees of the Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A Funds, Plaintiff: Dana Lynne Henke, LEAD ATTORNEY, Barnes, Iaccarino & Shepherd LLP, Elmsford, NY.

OPINION

Page 161

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

MARGO K. BRODIE, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff, Trustees of the Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A Funds, moved for a default judgment against Defendant Prestige Restoration and Maintenance, LLC, on June 12, 2013, which motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann. By report and recommendation dated August 8, 2013, Judge Mann recommended that the Court grant Plaintiff's request for a default judgment against Defendant as to liability but deny Plaintiff's request for

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damages and attorneys' fees. No objections were filed to the report and recommendation. Instead, on August 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed an amended motion for a default judgment. After reviewing Plaintiff's amended motion for default judgment, the Court declines to adopt the recommendation that Plaintiff's request for damages be denied. The Court adopts the recommendation to grant the default judgment as to liability and to deny Plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees.

I. Background

On August 24, 2012, Plaintiff commenced this action alleging violations of § 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (" LMRA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 185, and § § 502(a)(3) and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (" ERISA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3) and § 1145. Although properly served, Defendant failed to respond to the Complaint and on January 7, 2013, Plaintiff sought a notice of default which was entered by the Clerk of the Court on that day. (Docket Entry Nos. 5 and 6.) Plaintiff moved for a default judgment on January 8, 2013, which was denied by the Court as deficient on February 25, 2013, because, in part, Plaintiff failed to submit any evidence in support of its claim for damages. (February 25, 2013 Order.) On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed a renewed default motion which was referred to Judge Mann. (Docket Entry No. 9 and June 21, 2013 Order.) On June 21, 2013, Judge Mann issued an order finding Plaintiff's renewed motion " inadequate in a number of respects." (Docket Entry No. 11, Order re: Motion to Amend 1.) Specifically, Judge Mann found that no explanation was provided as to how the audit was performed, that the auditor's report was authenticated only through an affidavit of counsel, and not by the auditor who performed the audit, and the auditor who performed the work was not identified by name. ( Id.) Judge Mann also noted that Plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees was deficient in that it provided only a summary of total hours, in half-hour increments, did not supply contemporaneous time records, and did not describe the background of each associate and paralegal. ( Id.) Plaintiff was afforded " one final opportunity to cure these deficiencies." ( Id.) On July 2, 2013, Plaintiff timely filed an additional submission, which included an " affidavit of Kimesha Hines," an auditor of the Payroll Auditing firm of Marshall & Moss, but was otherwise substantially identical to Plaintiff's June 12, 2013 submission. (Docket Entry No. 12.) Plaintiff did not address the deficiencies in its application for attorneys' fees. ( Id.)

On August 8, 2013, Judge Mann issued a report and recommendation (" R& R" ) recommending that the Court grant Plaintiff's request for a default judgment against Defendant as to liability, but deny Plaintiff's request for damages and attorneys' fees. (Docket Entry No. 13.) Plaintiff failed to file any objections within the statutory time period and did not seek any additional time to object to the R& R. Instead, on August 26, 2013, the deadline by which objections to the R& R were to be filed, Plaintiff filed an amended motion seeking damages and costs, but not attorneys' fees. (Docket Entry No. 14, Am. Mot.) In support of the August 26, 2013 amended motion, Plaintiff submits a new affidavit by Kimesha Hines authenticating the audit which forms the basis for Plaintiff's claim for damages, ( id., Hines Aff.), and for the first time attaches a copy of the signed Trust Agreement between Plaintiff and Defendant. ( Id., Ex. B, Trust Agreement.) The amended motion is otherwise almost identical to Plaintiff's July 2, 2013 submission, except that Plaintiff seeks $9,546.37 instead of $6,976.29 as the principal amount of delinquent contributions due

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and owing for the same relevant time period, January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010.

II. Discussion

a. Standard of Review

A district court reviewing a magistrate judge's recommended ruling " may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). " Failure to object to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation within the prescribed time limit 'may operate as a waiver of any further judicial review of the decision, as long as the parties receive clear notice of the consequences of their failure to object.'" Sepe v. New York State Ins. Fund, 466 F.Appx. 49, 50 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting United States v. Male Juvenile, 121 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 1997)); see also Wagner & Wagner, LLP v. Atkinson, Haskins, Nellis, Brittingham, Gladd & Carwile, P.C., 596 F.3d 84, 92 (2d Cir. 2010) (" [A] party waives appellate review of a decision in a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation if the party fails to file timely objections designating the particular issue." ). When a party submits a timely objection to a report and recommendation, the district court reviews the parts of the report and recommendation to which the party objected under a de novo standard of review. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Larocco v. Jackson, No. 10-CV-1651, 2010 WL 5068006, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 6, 2010). However, " even in a de novo review of a party's specific objections, the Court ordinarily will not consider 'arguments, case law and/or evidentiary material which could have been, but [were] not, presented to the magistrate judge in the first instance.'" Gesualdi v. Specialty Flooring Sys., Inc., No. 11-CV-5937, 2013 WL 5439145, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2013) (quoting Kennedy v. Adamo, No. 02-CV-1776, 2006 WL 3704784, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 1, 2006)); see also Zamudio-Berges v. United States, No. 08-CV-8789, 2013 WL 2896978, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 13, 2013) (same).

Although a party's default " 'is deemed to constitute a concession of all well pleaded allegations of liability, it is not considered an admission of damages.'" Cement & Concrete Workers Dist. Council Welfare Fund, Pension Fund, Annuity Fund, Educ. & Training Fund & Other Funds v. Metro Found. Contractors Inc., 699 F.3d 230, 234 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. E.L.U.L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992)). In order to recover a default judgment, " [t]here must be an evidentiary basis for the damages sought by plaintiff, and a district court may determine there is sufficient evidence either based upon evidence presented at a hearing or upon a review of detailed affidavits and documentary evidence." Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2) and Fustok v. Conticommodity Servs., Inc., 873 F.2d 38, 40 (2d Cir. 1989)); see also Trustees of Empire State Carpenters Annuity, Apprenticeship, Labor-Mgmt. Cooperation, Pension & Welfare Funds v. Infinity Glass & Restoration LLC, No. 12-CV-5650, 2013 WL 5278200, at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 17, 2013) ...


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