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Grodotzke v. Seaford Ave. Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 28, 2014

DANNY GRODOTZKE and ROBERT RUGGIERIO, as Trustees of PLUMBERS LOCAL UNION NO. 200 WELFARE FUND, PENSION FUND, VACATION FUND, SUPPLEMENTAL VESTED ANNUITY FUND, ADDITIONAL SECURITY BENEFITS FUND and APPRENTICE TRAINING FUND, and JAY MARELLI as President of PLUMBERS LOCAL UNION NO. 200, UNITED ASSOCIATION of JOURNEYMEN and APPRENTICES of the PLUMBING AND PIPE FITTING INDUSTRY of the UNITED STATES and CANADA, Plaintiffs,
v.
SEAFORD AVENUE CORP., G and M MECHANICAL, INC., GEORGE LUKSCH, MICHAEL SCOTT, and COLONIAL SURETY COMPANY, Defendants

Page 186

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 187

For Danny Grodotzke, Robert Ruggiero, as Trustees of Plumbers Local Union No. 200 Welfare Fund, Pension Fund, Vacation Fund, Supplemental Vested Annuity Fund, Additional Security Benefits Fund and Apprentice Training Fund, Jay Marelli, as President of Plumbers Local Union No. 200, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Plaintiffs: John H. Byington, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine, LLP, Melville, NY.

For Seaford Avenue Corp., G and M Mechanical Inc., Michael Scott, George Luksch, Defendants: Scott A. Rosenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Scott A. Rosenberg P.C., Garden City Park, NY; Kenneth J. Pagliughi, Scott A. Rosenberg P.C., Garden City Park, NY.

For Colonial Surety Company, Defendant, ThirdParty Plaintiff, Cross Claimant: Scott Levin, LEAD ATTORNEY, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, Morristown, NJ.

For Gail Luksch, Kathy Luksch, Eleonor Scott, ThirdParty Defendants: Kenneth J. Pagliughi, Scott A. Rosenberg P.C., Garden City Park, NY.

For G and M Mechanical Inc., George Luksch, Michael Scott, Seaford Avenue Corp., Cross Defendants: Scott A. Rosenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Scott A. Rosenberg P.C., Garden City Park, NY; Kenneth J. Pagliughi, Scott A. Rosenberg P.C., Garden City Park, NY.

OPINION

Page 188

OPINION AND ORDER

FEUERSTEIN, District Judge:

Plaintiffs bring this action to recover unpaid fringe benefit contributions and for breach of fiduciary duty. Pending before the Court is the moving defendants'[1] partial motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" FRCP" ) 12(b)(6),[2] plaintiffs' first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth claims.[3] For the following reasons, moving defendants' motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.

I. Background

This action arises under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (" LMRA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 185, and Sections 502(a)(2) and 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (" ERISA" ), 29 U.S.C. § § 1132(a)(2) and 1132(a)(3). Plaintiffs, the trustees of several employee benefit plans, bring this action against defendants Seaford Avenue Corporation (" Seaford" ), G and M Mechanical, Inc. (" G & M" ), George Luksch (" Luksch" ) and Michael Scott (" Scott" ) (collectively " moving defendants" ), alleging they constitute a single employer or are alter egos of one another, such that G & M is bound by a collective bargaining agreement to which Seaford is a signatory and that both are liable to plaintiffs for delinquent employer contributions.

Page 189

Plaintiffs allege that defendants violated Sections 515, 406 and 404 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § § 1145, 1106, 1104 and failed to comply with their statutory and contractual obligations arising under defendant Seaford's collective bargaining agreement (" CBA" ) with the Union. Plaintiffs also request declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § § 2201 and 2202. Compl. ¶ 1. Plaintiffs Danny Grodotzke and Robert Ruggierio are fiduciaries of the Funds within the meaning of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § § 1002(21) and 1132. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff Jay Marelli is President of the Union, a labor organization within the meaning of Section 301(a) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Id. at ¶ 5.

Plaintiff Funds are and have been employee benefit welfare plans and/or employee benefit pension plans as defined in ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(1) and (2). Id. at ¶ 6. The Funds, operated pursuant to the terms of the CBA, Written Agreements and a Declaration of Trust (" Trust Agreements" ), collect required benefit contributions and provide various fringe benefits to eligible employees. Id. at ¶ 7.

Defendants Seaford and G & M are corporations organized and existing under the laws of New York State with a place of business at 21 Brooklyn Avenue, Massapequa, New York. Id. at ¶ ¶ 8, 9. Defendants Luksch and Scott are both individuals with a place of business at 21 Brooklyn Avenue, Massapequa, New York. Id. at ¶ ¶ 10, 11.

II. Discussion

A. Legal Standard

When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim, the court must assume as true all allegations contained in the complaint. Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 701 (2d Cir. 1998). However, it is " well settled that conclusory allegations merely stating general legal conclusions necessary to prevail on the merits of a claim, unsupported by factual averments will not be accepted as true." ECOR Solutions, Inc. v. Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., No. 02 Civ. 1103, 2005 WL 1843253, at *3 (N.D.N.Y. July 29, 2005). The Supreme Court has held that a " plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). On FRCP 12(b)(6) motions, the court must assess the legal feasibility of the complaint and whether a plaintiff pleaded claims for which he or she is entitled to discovery. Sims v. Artuz, 230 F.3d 14, 20 (2d Cir. 2000); Chance, 143 F.3d at 701.

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), the Supreme Court held that courts should entertain a motion to dismiss by following a two-pronged approach:

[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume ...

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