United States District Court, S.D. New York
TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND, WELFARE FUND, ANNUITY FUND, AND APPRENTICESHIP, JOURNEYMAN RETRAINING, EDUCATIONAL AND INDUSTRY FUND, ET AL., Petitioners,
DREAMLAND CONSTRUCTION, INC., Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. Koeltl, United States District Judge.
are four petitioners in this case: (1) Trustees of the New
York City District Council Of Carpenters Pension Fund,
Welfare Fund, Annuity Fund, and Apprenticeship, Journeyman
Retraining, Educational and Industry Fund (“ERISA
Funds”); (2) Trustees of the New York City Carpenters
Relief and Charity Fund (“Charity Fund”); (3)
Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan New York
(“CCA Metro, ” together with the ERISA Funds and
Charity Fund, “Funds”); and (4) New York City
District Council of Carpenters (“Union”). The
Funds and the Union petition to confirm an arbitration award
pursuant to section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act
of 1947 (“LMRA”), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §
185, and move this Court to confirm the arbitration award, as
well as award attorney's fees, costs, and post-judgment
interest at the statutory rate and other relief as is just
Trustees of the ERISA Funds are employer and employee
trustees of multiemployer labor-management trust funds
organized and operated in accordance with ERISA. Pet. ¶
4. The trustees are fiduciaries of the ERISA Funds within the
meaning of Section 3(21) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21).
Id. The Trustees of the Charity Fund are trustees of
a charitable organization established under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3).
Id. at ¶ 5. CCA Metro is a New York
not-for-profit corporation. Id. at ¶ 6. The New
York City District Council of Carpenters is a labor union
within the meaning of the LMRA, represents employees in an
industry affecting commerce within the meaning of Section 501
of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C § 142, and is the certified
bargaining representative for certain employees of the
respondent. Id. at ¶ 7. The respondent,
Dreamland Construction, Inc., is a corporation incorporated
in New York. Id. at ¶ 8. The respondent is an
employer within the meaning of Section 3(5) of ERISA, 29
U.S.C. § 1002(5). Id. The respondent has not
opposed the petition. For the following reasons, the petition
following uncontested facts are taken from the complaint and
evidence submitted in support of the petition.
about August, 2012, and September, 2013, the respondent
entered into a Project Labor Agreement Covering Specified
Renovation & Rehabilitation of City Owned Buildings
(“PLA”). Id. at ¶ 9. The PLA
incorporated the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the
Building Contractors Association, Inc. and the District
Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, AFL-CIO
(“CBA”). Id. at ¶ 11; Pet. Ex.
The CBA requires that the respondent remit contributions to
the Funds for every hour worked by its employees within the
trade and geographical jurisdiction of the Union and furnish
its books and records to the Funds upon request for the
purposes of auditing such contributions. Pet. ¶¶
also binds employers to the Funds' Collection Policy.
Id. at ¶ 14. The Collection Policy states
“[i]n the event that an employer refuses to permit a
payroll review and/or audit . . . the Fund Office shall
determine the estimated amount of the employer's
delinquent contributions based on the . . . highest number of
average hours reported per week for any period of four
consecutive weeks during the audit period.”
Id. at ¶ 15. The CBA provides that in the event
that a “dispute or disagreement arise between the
parties hereto . . . concerning any claim arising from
payments to the Fund of principal and/or interest which is
allegedly due, either party may seek arbitration of the
dispute before the impartial arbitrator.” Id.
at ¶ 16. The CBA and Collection Policy provide that,
should the Funds be required to arbitrate a dispute or file a
lawsuit over unpaid contributions, the Funds shall be
entitled to collect, in addition to the delinquent
contributions: (1) interest on the unpaid contributions at
the prime rate of Citibank plus 2%; (2) liquidated damages in
the amount of twenty percent (20%) of the unpaid
contributions; and (3) reasonable costs and attorneys'
fees incurred by the Funds in collecting the delinquencies.
Id. at ¶ 17.
dispute arose when the respondent failed to grant the Funds
access to its books and records to conduct an audit covering
the period beginning March 28, 2015. Id. at ¶
18. Pursuant to the Collection Policy, the Funds determined
that the respondent's estimated delinquent contributions
were $63, 631.68. Id. at ¶ 19. Pursuant to the
CBA's arbitration clause, the petitioners initiated
arbitration before the designated arbitrator, Roger E. Maher.
Id. at ¶ 20. The arbitrator provided notice of
the hearing on March 18, 2019, Pet. Ex. F, and the hearing
was held on July 10, 2019, Pet Ex. G. The respondent did not
appear at the hearing. Id.
arbitrator examined the evidence and stated that the
uncontroverted testimony and evidence established that the
respondent was bound to the CBA, which became effective on
September 25, 2013. Id. The arbitrator also examined
the evidence of a summary report of the estimated amount due
of $63, 631.68, and determined that the respondent violated
the CBA when it failed to permit the Funds auditors to
examine its books and records. Id. On July 15, 2019,
the arbitrator ordered the respondent to pay the Funds the
sum of $88, 141.92, consisting of (a) principal of $63,
631.68; (b) interest of $9, 383.90; (c) liquidated damages of
$12, 726.34; (d) court costs of $400; (e) attorney's fees
of $1, 500; and (f) arbitrator's fees of $500.
Id. The arbitrator also found that interest would
accrue at an annual rate of 7.5% from the date of the award.
Id. The petitioners contend that the respondent has
failed to pay any portion of the award. Pet. ¶ 24.
petitioners seek to confirm the award issued by the
arbitrator. In addition, they ask the Court to approve (i)
attorney's fees totaling $1, 567.50 and court costs
totaling $70, arising out of this petition and (ii)
post-judgment interest at the statutory rate.
district court's role in reviewing an arbitration award
is extremely limited. United Paperworkers Int'l
Union, AFL-CIO v. Misco, Inc., 484 U.S. 29 (1987);
United Steelworkers v. Enterprise Wheel & Car
Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960). The Supreme Court has
explained that district courts “are not authorized to
reconsider the merits of an award even though the parties may
allege that the award rests on errors of fact or on
misinterpretation of the contract.” Misco, 484
U.S. at 36. The Court instructed that “[a]s long as the
arbitrator's award ‘draws its essence from the
collective bargaining agreement,' and is not merely
‘his own brand of industrial justice,' the award is
legitimate.” Id. (quoting United
Steelworkers, 363 U.S. at 597). Accordingly, an
arbitration award is to be confirmed if there is even a
“barely colorable justification” for the
decision. United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund
v. Dickinson, 753 F.2d 250, 252 (2d Cir. 1985); see
also Trustees of New York City Dist. Council of Carpenters
Pension Fund v. Stop & Work Constr., Inc., No.
17CV5693, 2018 WL 324267, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 5, 2018).
Second Circuit Court of Appeals has explained that a default
judgment is generally inappropriate in a proceeding to
confirm or vacate an arbitration award because “[a]
motion to confirm or vacate an [arbitration] award is
generally accompanied by a record, such as an agreement to
arbitrate and the arbitration award decision itself. . . .
[T]he petition and accompanying record should [be] treated as
akin to a motion for summary judgment based on the
movant's submissions.” D.H. Blair & Co. v.
Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 109 (2d Cir. 2006).
standard for granting summary judgment is well established.
“The [C]ourt shall grant summary judgment if 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Darnell v.
Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 22 (2d Cir. 2017). The substantive
law governing the case will identify those facts that are
material and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the ...