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International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 1249 Pension and Insurance Funds v. South Buffalo Electric, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. New York

June 8, 2017

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL UNION NO. 1249 PENSION AND INSURANCE FUNDS, by Daniel R. Dafor, as Administrator,, Plaintiffs,
v.
SOUTH BUFFALO ELECTRIC, INC., ARNOLD J. PAOLINI, ARNOLD A. PAOLINI, Defendants.

          BLITMAN, KING LAW FIRM Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          JENNIFER A. CLARK, ESQ.

          KEENAN LAW CENTRE, P.C. Attorney for Defendant Arnold J. Paolini

          JOHN J. KEENAN, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On June 4, 2015, Plaintiffs International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 1249 Insurance Fund ("Insurance Fund"), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 1249 Pension Fund ("Pension Fund"), National Electrical Benefit Fund, New York State Lineman's Safety Training Fund ("Safety Training Fund"), Northeastern Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund (collectively, the "Funds"), and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 1249 (the "Union") commenced this action against Defendants South Buffalo Electric, Inc. ("South Buffalo"), Arnold J. Paolini, and Arnold A. Paolini for failing to timely remit benefit contributions and deductions 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. § 1985. Presently before the Court are Plaintiffs' motions for default judgment as to Defendants South Buffalo and Arnold A. Paolini. See Dkt. Nos. 32, 51. As set forth below, the motion against Arnold A. Paolini is granted, and the motion against South Buffalo is denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Defendant South Buffalo is a New York corporation and Defendants Arnold A. Paolini and Arnold J. Paolini are managers of South Buffalo. See Dkt. No. 36 at ¶¶ 13-15. Plaintiffs-who are fiduciaries of the Funds and the business manager of the Union-allege that South Buffalo is party to certain agreements and trusts requiring it to remit contributions and deductions to Plaintiffs, and that South Buffalo has failed to do so. See Id. at ¶¶ 21-26. Plaintiffs further allege that Arnold A. Paolini and Arnold J. Paolini are liable for South Buffalo's failure to pay contributions and deductions to the Funds and the Union. See Id. at ¶¶ 52, 82.

         The original complaint in this action named only South Buffalo and Arnold J. Paolini as defendants. See Dkt. No. 1. After filing the original complaint, Plaintiffs requested an entry of default as to South Buffalo and Arnold J. Paolini, Dkt. No. 7, and that request was granted by the Clerk of the Court, Dkt. No. 9. On September 9, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment against Arnold J. Paolini. See Dkt. No. 25. But on October 10, 2016, Arnold J. Paolini filed an answer, see Dkt. No. 30, and after a telephone conference the Court vacated the entry of default as to Arnold J. Paolini and terminated the default judgment filed against him, see Dkt. No. 31.

         On November 1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment against South Buffalo. See Dkt. No. 32. Two weeks later, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint naming South Buffalo, Arnold J. Paolini, and Arnold A. Paolini as Defendants, but Plaintiffs did not withdraw their prior motion for default judgment against South Buffalo. See Dkt. No. 36. Arnold J. Paolini answered the amended complaint, see Dkt. No. 39, and the Clerk of the Court granted entries of default as to Arnold A. Paolini and South Buffalo, see Dkt. No. 48. On February 3, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment against Arnold A. Paolini but not South Buffalo. See Dkt. No. 51.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         "Generally, 'Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 provides a two-step process that the Court must follow before it may enter a default judgment against a defendant.'" United States v. Simmons, No. 5:10-CV-1272, 2012 WL 685498, *2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2012) (quoting Robertson v. Doe, No. 05-CV-7046, 2008 WL 2519894, *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008)). "'First, under Rule 55(a), when a party fails "to plead or otherwise defend . . . the clerk must enter the party's default."'" Id.; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). "'Second, pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2), the party seeking default is required to present its application for entry of judgment to the court.'" Id. "'Notice of the application must be sent to the ...


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