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Trustees of New York City District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund v. Installations of America Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 26, 2017

TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND, WELFARE FUND, ANNUITY FUND, AND APPRENTICESHIP, JOURNEYMAN RETRAINING, EDUCATIONAL AND INDUSTRY FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY CARPENTERS RELIEF AND CHARITY FUND, THE NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY CARPENTERS LABOR-MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, THE NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT, COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS, THE TRUSTEES OF THE EMPIRE STATE CARPENTERS ANNUITY, APPRENTICESHIP, LABOR-MANAGEMENT COOPERATION, PENSION and WELFARE FUNDS, Plaintiffs,
v.
INSTALLATIONS OF AMERICA, INC., INSTALLATIONS OF AMERICA II, INC., VANDEWATER HOLDING COMPANY, INC., INTERNATIONAL MILLWORK & FIXTURING, INC., UNITED INSTALLERS OF MILLWORK INC., and UNITED MILLWORK OF NY, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Paul A. Engelmayer United States District Judge.

         On March 16, 2016, plaintiffs Trustees of the New York City District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, Welfare Fund, Annuity Fund, and Apprenticeship, Journeyman Retraining, Educational and Industry Fund, Trustees of the New York City Carpenters Relief and Charity Fund, the New York City and Vicinity Carpenters Labor-Management Corporation, and the New York City District Council of Carpenters (collectively, the "NYC Funds") moved for summary judgment against defendants Installations of America, Inc. ("Installations I") and Vandewater Holding Co., Inc. ("Vandewater") (collectively, "Installations (''Vandewater"). Dkt. 16. The NYC Funds sought confirmation of an arbitrator's June 19, 2015 default award, Dkt. 18, Ex. F ("Award"), awarding the NYC Funds contributions that Installations (''Vandewater had withheld and wrongfully retained.[1] The NYC Funds also sought interest plus attorney's fees and costs incurred during this proceeding.

         On April 11, 2016, the Court directed Installations I/Vandewater to file any opposition by May 6, 2016. Dkt. 22. To date, it has not done so. For the following reasons, the Court grants the NYC Funds' motion and confirms the arbitration award.

         I. Background[2]

         A. The Parties

         Installations I is a New York State corporation. PL Mem. at 7. It was incorporated on May 14, 1992, and changed its name to "Vandewater Holding Company, Inc." on April 28, 2005. Id. At all relevant times, Installations I/Vandewater was a party to a collective bargaining agreement (the "CBA") with the New York City District Council of Carpenters f/k/a District Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the "Union"). Id. at 7-8; see also Ozard Deck, Ex. A ("CBA").

         B. The Collective Bargaining Agreement

         The CBA required Installations I/Vandewater to make certain contributions to the NYC Funds in connection with employee performance of specific covered work. CBA Art. XV. The CBA also required Installations I/Vanderwater to submit to an audit at the NYC Funds' request. Id. It also incorporated the NYC Funds' Policy for Collection of Employer Contributions, which provides that the NYC Funds are entitled to (a) liquidated damages and interest on any delinquent contributions, and (b) attorneys' fees and costs incurred in having to collect delinquent contributions. PI. Br. at 8; CBA Art. XV.

         Under the CBA, the NYC Funds conducted an audit of Installations I/Vandewater's books and records covering the period of December 27, 2012 through March 26, 2014. PL Br. at 8. The audit revealed a delinquency in the principal amount of $3, 532.56, which Installations I/Vandewater failed to remit. Id.

         At that point, the NYC Funds invoked the CBA's arbitration clause and submitted the dispute to arbitration. Id.; see also CBA Art. XV ("Should any dispute or disagreement arise between the parties . . . concerning any claim arising from payments to the Fund of principle and/or interest which is allegedly due, either party may seek arbitration of the dispute. . . . "); id. ("The arbitrator's award in this regard shall be final and binding upon the parties. . . . .").

         C. The Arbitration Award

         The dispute was submitted to Roger E. Maher, an approved arbitrator listed in the CBA. See CBA Art. XII. The NYC Funds sent Installations I/Vandewater notice of its intent to arbitrate and of the upcoming arbitration hearing. PI. Br. at 8.

         On May 27, 2015, the date of the hearing, the NYC Funds appeared but Installations I/Vandewater did not. Award at 1; PI. Br. at 8. Maher found Installations I/Vandewater in default and heard testimony and took evidence on the NYC Funds' claims. Award at 2.

         On June 19, 2015, Maher issued the Award. Id. at 3. He held that the CBA had become effective on January 1, 1998. Id. at 2. He further ruled that, based on the NYC Funds' "substantial and credible evidence, " Installations I/Vandewater was delinquent in payments due under the CBA. Id. at 2. Maher determined that Installations I/Vandewater owed the NYC Funds a total of $39, 279.16, consisting of: (1) contributions of $3, 532.56; (2) additional shortages of $19, 248.13; (3) interest on the principal in the amount of $301.54; (4) interest on the additional shortages in the amount of $3, 020.69; (5) liquidated damages on the principal in the amount of $706.51; (6) liquidated damages on the additional shortages in the amount of $3, 849.63; (7) late payment interest in the amount of $2, 473.22; (8) assessments to the Promotional Fund of $468.38; (9) court costs of $400; (10) attorney's fees of $1, 500; (11) an arbitrator's fee of $500; and ...


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