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Bricklayers Insurance and Welfare Fund v. Mastercraft Masonry I, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 7, 2020

BRICKLAYERS INSURANCE AND WELFARE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MASTERCRAFT MASONRY I, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          BRIAN M.COGAN U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their several claims against defendants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). For the reasons discussed below, plaintiffs' motion is granted in part as to liability and denied as to damages.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant Mastercraft is a masonry contractor that performs work on various jobs in New York City. Mastercraft is a member of the Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York (“ABMC”), a multi-employer bargaining association whose members employ Local 1 bricklayers. In mid-2015, ABMC entered into a collective bargaining agreement (“the CBA”) with Local 1, requiring Mastercraft to assign all the masonry work it performs within Local 1's jurisdiction to Local 1 bricklayers. As part of the CBA, Mastercraft must make contributions on the Local 1 bricklayers' behalf, pursuant to specified hourly rates, to pay for pension benefits, medical benefits, and certain training programs. Mastercraft is also required to remit to the bricklayers their after-tax wage deductions that went to the Vacation Fund, and to transmit other after-tax wage deductions to Local 1 and its parent to pay for the bricklayers' union dues (i.e., “dues checkoffs”).

         All CBA signatories are also subject to periodic audits. According to the combined findings of two separate audits of Mastercraft - covering the period of July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019 - Mastercraft is currently delinquent in making its required payments in the total amount of $1, 431, 850.72. As part of that total amount due, plaintiffs assert that defendants Tantillo and Boemio are personally liable for $980, 996.43 as fiduciaries over certain of Mastercraft's assets: $632, 494.21 in unpaid contributions and assessments to the fund plaintiffs; $194, 108.84 in Vacation Fund deductions to the bricklayers; and $154, 393.38 in wage deductions to the union as dues checkoffs.

         Plaintiffs further claim that defendant Northeast is an alter-ego company of Mastercraft, as it “perform[s] the same masonry work covered by Local 1's jurisdictional clause, employ[s] the same supervisors and employees, and have the same ownership” as Mastercraft, in addition to “continu[ing] Mastercraft's business operations.” Therefore, plaintiffs say Northeast is jointly liable for the entirety of Mastercraft's delinquency.

         Finally, plaintiffs claim that defendant Endurance is jointly liable for $514, 747.20 in delinquent contributions and remittances related to the “East End Project.” Specifically, they aver that Endurance issued a labor and materials payment bond, as surety on behalf of Mastercraft, for use in the East End Project. Thus, Endurance is a guarantor of that bond to the third-party beneficiaries for the contributions and remittances it was intended to cover.[1]

         Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on all claims.

         DISCUSSION

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court may grant summary judgment when “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant successfully does this, the burden shifts to the opposing party to “offer some hard evidence showing that its version of the events is not wholly fanciful.” See D'Amico v. City of New York, 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998).

         “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elect. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “only admissible evidence need be considered by the trial court in ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Raskin v. Wyatt Co., 125 F.3d 55, 66 (2d Cir. 1997).

         A dispute as to a material fact is “‘genuine' . . . if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The opposing party must put forward some “concrete evidence from which a reasonable juror could return a verdict in his favor” to withstand a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 256. “Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge, whether he is ruling on a motion for summary judgment or for a directed verdict.” Id. When deciding a motion for summary judgment, “[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id. (internal quotation mark omitted).

         I. Liability

         a. ...


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