United States District Court, N.D. New York
AMENDED DECISION AND ORDER
Lawrence E. Kahn U.S. District Judge
Amended Decision and Order is issued pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60(a) to correct a clerical error in the
Court's Decision and Order dated January 30, 2017. Dkt.
April 28, 2015, Plaintiffs Upstate New York Engineers Health
Fund, Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund, Upstate
Engineers S.U.B. Fund, Upstate New York Engineers Training
Fund, Local 106 Training and Apprenticeship Fund, Central
Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating
Engineers and Participating Employers (collectively, the
“Funds”), and Upstate New York Operating
Engineers, Local 158 (the “Union”) filed this
action to recover contributions, deductions, interest,
liquidated damages, audit fees, and attorneys' fees and
costs under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et
seq., and the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947
(“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185. Dkt. No. 1
(“Complaint”). Presently before the Court is
Plaintiffs' second motion for default judgment. Dkt. Nos.
20 (“Second Default Motion”), 20-1
(“Memorandum”). For the following reasons,
Plaintiffs' Second Default Motion is granted.
Oneidaview Pile Driving is a New York corporation, and
defendant Stanfield is an officer and shareholder of
Oneidaview. Compl. ¶¶ 15-16. This action was
brought by fiduciaries of employee benefit plans alleging
that Oneidaview did not pay contributions or deductions to
Plaintiffs as required under the terms of three collective
bargaining agreements (“CBAs”). Id.
¶¶ 24-25, 30. Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on
April 25, 2015, and Defendants did not answer or otherwise
move with respect to the Complaint. On June 2, 2015,
Plaintiffs requested entry of default as to all Defendants,
Dkt. No. 7, which the Clerk of the Court granted on June 3,
2015, Dkt. No. 9. Plaintiffs then moved for a default
judgment under to Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Dkt. No. 17 (“First Default Motion”).
The Court denied the First Default Motion because
Plaintiffs' calculation of prejudgment interest was
incomprehensible, but the Court granted leave to refile the
motion. Dkt. No. 19 (“September Order”).
Plaintiffs have since timely filed the Second Default Motion.
Defendants have not opposed the Second Default Motion or
otherwise appeared in this action.
the clerk has filed an entry of default against a party that
has failed to plead or otherwise defend, a court may enter
default judgment upon application of the opposing party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). Default judgment is an extreme sanction,
and decisions on the merits are favored. Meehan v.
Snow, 652 F.2d 274, 277 (2d Cir. 1981). However, default
judgment is ordinarily justified when a party fails to
respond after having received proper notice. Bermudez v.
Reid, 733 F.2d 18, 21 (2d Cir. 1984). After a default is
entered, all of the well-pleaded allegations in a complaint
pertaining to liability are deemed true. See
Transatlantic Marine Claims Agency, Inc. v. Ace Shipping
Corp., 109 F.3d 105, 108 (2d Cir. 1997) (recognizing
that the factual allegations in the complaint, except those
relating to damages, are deemed true after default).
a court cannot take allegations in a complaint regarding
damages as true. Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA), Inc. v.
Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 154-55 (2d Cir. 1999). After
establishing liability, a court must ascertain the amount of
damages with reasonable certainty. Transatlantic,
109 F.3d at 111. To determine the amount of damages in the
context of a default judgment, “the court may conduct
such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary
and proper.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). However, “it
[is] not necessary for the District Court to hold a hearing,
as long as it ensured that there [is] a basis for the damages
specified in the default judgment.” Fustok v.
ContiCommodity Servs., Inc., 873 F.2d 38, 40 (2d Cir.
1989); see also Action S.A. v. Marc Rich & Co.,
Inc., 951 F.2d 504, 508 (2d Cir. 1991) (finding a full
evidentiary hearing unnecessary where the district judge was
“inundated with affidavits, evidence, and oral
have failed to appear in this action or to answer
Plaintiffs' Complaint, despite having been duly served.
Dkt. Nos. 4, 5, 6. Because Defendants have failed to appear,
and because the Clerk has made an entry of default, all
relevant and well-pleaded factual allegations in
Plaintiffs' Complaint are presumed to be accurate.
ERISA, employers that are obligated to make contributions to
multiemployer benefit plans must do so under the terms of
such plans. 29 U.S.C. § 1145. Here, Plaintiffs have
sufficiently alleged that Oneidaview is an employer required
to make contributions to the employee benefit plans under the
CBAs, and that it has failed to do so. Compl. ¶¶
25-26, 30. Under the CBAs, Oneidaview was also required to
deduct stipulated amounts from employees' wages and pay
those deductions to the Union. Id. ¶ 26. If an
employer fails to make the required contributions and
deductions, ERISA provides for statutory damages as follows:
(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,
(C) an amount equal to the greater of -
(i) interest on the unpaid ...