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International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators v. CAC of NY Inc.

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

February 18, 2015

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HEAT AND FROST INSULATORS and ALLIED WORKERS LOCAL UNION NO. 12A and TRUSTEES OF LOCAL 12A HEALTH AND ANNUITY FUNDS, Plaintiffs,
v.
CAC OF NY INC., Defendant.

For Plaintiffs: Cynthia Devasia, Esq., Koehler & Isaacs LLP

Defendant (Pro Se): CAC of NY Inc.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN, U.S.D.J.

This is an action pursuant to sections 502 and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), [1] section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), [2] and for breach of contract, seeking payment of delinquent fringe benefit contributions and union dues checkoffs owed by defendant CAC of NY Inc. ("CAC"). Plaintiffs - International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local Union No. 12A ("Local 12A") (together "Unions") and Trustees of Local 12A Health and Annuity Funds ("Funds") - have moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 ("Rule 56"). CAC - an unrepresented corporation - has failed to file opposition to this motion.[3] For the following reasons, plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND[4]

Unions are labor organizations as defined in section 185 of Title 29 of the United States Code. They represents workers performing asbestos and hazardous waste removal in New York City and Long Island.[5] The Funds administer jointly-trusteed, multiemployer benefit plans in an industry affecting interstate commerce.[6]

The parties are signatories or third-party beneficiaries to a collective bargaining agreement ("Agreement").[7] While Local 12A and Laborers Local 78 of the Laborers' International Union of North America ("Local 78") are unaffiliated, they are the duly recognized exclusive collective bargaining agent of employees covered by the Agreement. As such, the two unions share trade and geographical jurisdiction. Under the Agreement, each job is subject to a staffing ratio that requires a specific percentage of workers from both unions - sometimes Local 78 provides eighty percent of the workforce while Local 12A provides twenty percent, but at other times, the percentage is reversed.[8]

Under the Agreement, defendant was obligated to pay fringe benefit contributions to the Funds. It was also obligated to pay over union dues collected from employee wages to the Funds.[9] These payments were due weekly. Defendant's employees, members of the Unions and participants in the Funds, performed work governed by the Agreement during the period January 2007 through December 31, 2009 (the "Pay Period").[10]

Pursuant to Article VII, section 13 of the Agreement, the Unions had the right to conduct an audit of defendant's books and records to ensure all fringe benefit contributions and union dues obligations have been paid in full. Joseph Stern, a Certified Public Accountant, performed an audit of defendant's books and records, and issued findings on or about September 28, 2010.[11] According to this report, CAC failed to pay $125, 355.28 in fringe benefit contributions and $26, 103.50 in union dues remittance during the Pay Period.[12]

In response to objections to the audit, the numbers were revised to $95, 679.63 in fringe benefit contributions and $19, 802.90 in dues remittance.[13] In addition, plaintiffs have concluded that one worker did not become a Local 12A member until March 2009, requiring a $755 reduction. Accordingly, plaintiffs seek the principal amount of $114, 726.98.[14] They also seek $28, 447.01 in interest, $6, 228.00 in audit costs, $28, 447.01 in liquidated damages, $11, 300.00 in attorney's fees, and $407.26 in costs and disbursements, for a total amount sought of$189, 556.26.[15]

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "only where, construing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor, there is 'no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'"[16] "A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and an issue of fact is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."[17]

"[T]he moving party has the burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the undisputed facts entitle [it] to judgment as a matter of law."[18] To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, "[19] and "may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation."[20]

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he role of the court is not to resolve disputed issues of fact but to assess whether there are any factual issues to be tried."[21] "'Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate ...


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