The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, United States District Judge
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
This case is currently before the court on the plaintiff's motion for a
default judgment in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. The
plaintiff, the International Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension
Fund ("the Pension Fund"), is a multi-employer employee pension plan
governed by ERISA. The defendants are R.W. Amrine Drywall Company and
Robert Amrine, the owner of that company (collectively, "the defendants"
or "the Company"). This action began after the Company entered into
collective bargaining agreements with a labor union organization, the
International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades ("the
Brotherhood"). Claiming that the defendants failed to comply with the
collective bargaining agreements, the plaintiff initiated this action to
enforce the terms of the agreements. For the following reasons, the court
grants in part and denies in part the plaintiff's motion for default
As noted, the Pension Fund is a multi-employer employee pension plan
governed by ERISA. Montemore Decl. ¶ 2. The collective bargaining
agreements between the Company and the Brotherhood authorize the Pension
Fund to provide retirement income to the Company's employees who are
represented by the Brotherhood ("Company employees"). Id. ¶ 4. Toward
that end, the collective bargaining agreements require the defendants to
submit monthly remittance reports to the Pension Fund describing the work
performed by Company employees. Id. ¶ 5. The agreement further requires
the Company to submit monthly contributions to the Pension Fund on behalf
of the Company employees. Id. ¶ 4. If the Company fails to comply with
the collective bargaining agreements, the Company must (1) submit to an
audit of all records related to its obligations to the Pension Fund and
(2) pay liquidated damages, late charges,
interest, audit costs, and attorney's fees and costs. Compl. at 3.
The defendants incurred a contribution delinquency to the Pension Fund
when it failed to make the required contributions for the period from
October 2000 through March 2001. Montemore Decl. ¶ 6. The defendants
settled this delinquency by entering into a Promissory Note and Personal
Guaranty, notarized on July 3, 2001, for the principal sum of
$18,928.14. Id. Despite this settlement agreement, the company failed to
submit timely all of the payments as required by the settlement. Id.
According to the plaintiff, the defendants continued to violate the
collective bargaining agreements by failing to make Pension Fund
contributions and failing to file remittance reports. Id. ¶ 12. On March
12, 2002, the plaintiff filed a complaint alleging these violations. In
the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to pay to
the Pension Fund contributions "in at least the sum of $14,738.25."
Compl. at 4. The plaintiff explains that it also seeks a judgment for any
Pension Fund contributions the Company fails to make after the filing of
the complaint. Id. at 4. The plaintiff, in the complaint, does not
specify the timeframe for the already-delinquent payments, but states that
the time period is "in a period not barred by any applicable statute of
limitations." Id. at 7. In sum, the plaintiff requests monetary damages
and injunctive relief, pursuant to ERISA, for violations of the
collective bargaining agreements.
On April 5, 2002, counsel for the plaintiff executed service of the
summons and complaint on the defendants. Return of Serv. filed on Apr.
18, 2002. The record reflects that the defendants have not filed an
answer to the plaintiff's complaint. Consequently, the clerk of the court
entered default for the plaintiff on July 17, 2002. Default.
On September 13, 2002, the plaintiff filed a motion for entry of
default judgment in the amount of $18,900.23 and for injunctive relief.
The damages requested in the motion are slightly different from those
requested in the complaint because the Company continues to fail to
contribute to the Pension Fund as required by the collective bargaining
Regarding monetary damages, the plaintiff first requests $10,854.86 for
the "principal balance" (including unpaid contributions of $9,461.20)
owed to the plaintiff pursuant to the July 3, 2001 settlement regarding
the defendants' contribution delinquency for October 2000 through March
2001. Montemore Decl. ¶ 6. Second, the plaintiff argues for $1,919.30 for
unpaid Pension Fund contributions for November 2001 through April
2002.*fn1 Id. ¶¶ 7-8. Third, the plaintiff moves for
$258.29 in interest on the unpaid contributions set out in items (1) and
(2), calculated in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service rate for
delinquent taxes and pursuant to the Pension Fund's Rules and Regulations.
Id. ¶ 9. Fourth, the plaintiff requests $2,554.83 in liquidated
damages. Id. ¶ 10. Fifth, the plaintiff asks for $349.96 in late
charges, in the form of interest on contributions that the defendants
paid prior to this litigation and more than twenty days after the due
date. Id. ¶ 11; Mot. for Default J. ¶ 5. Sixth, the plaintiff
requests $2,962.99 in attorney's fees and costs. Sigmond Decl. dated
Sept. 12, 2002; Mot. for Default J. Ex. 5.
The plaintiff also requests equitable and injunctive relief.
Specifically, the plaintiff asks the court to order the defendants to
cease their refusal to file complete and timely remittance reports in the
future. Mot. for Default J. ¶¶ 7-8. The plaintiff also asks the court to
order the defendants to file remittance reports for February through
April 2002 and produce their payroll books and records from June 1999 to
the present to allow the plaintiff to conduct an audit of these
documents. Id. This audit is intended to determine whether the defendants
owe further contributions to the Pension Fund. Id. The plaintiff argues
that this injunctive relief is needed to prevent further irreparable harm
to the Pension Fund. Id.
On October 16, 2002, the court issued an order instructing the
defendants to show cause by October 31, 2002 as to why the court should
not enter default judgment. The court instructed the defendants that
"failure to respond to this order may result in the entry of default
judgment in favor of the plaintiff." The deadline having ...