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Flynn v. Pulaski Construction Co.

December 19, 2006

JOHN FLYNN, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PULASKI CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Donald C. Pogue Judge*fn2

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT

Plaintiffs move for entry of judgment, in the amount of $160,574.38,against all defendants. For the following reasons, the court grants Plaintiffs' motion.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This is a fiduciary action on behalf of a pension fund, commenced November 25, 2002, to collect delinquent contributions under the provisions of Section 515 of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1145.*fn1

The clerk of the court entered default against all defendants on May 8, 2003.

In response to the Defendants' motion to vacate the May 8, 2003 default, the court, on January 6, 2006, vacated the default with regard to two defendants, Central Jersey Excavating Co., LLC and Richard A. Pulaski Construction Co., Inc., both of whom alleged potentially meritorious defenses. At the same time, the court ordered the parties to confer and file a scheduling order. When no such order was filed, the court, on April 24, 2006, ordered the two defendants receiving relief, within ten days of the date of the order, to retain counsel and answer the complaint or face re-entry of the May 8, 2003 default. When no appearance or answer was filed, the court, on May 17, 2006, re-entered default as to all parties.

On June 23, 2006, Defendants Central Jersey Excavating Co., LLC and Richard A. Pulaski Construction Co., Inc., moved to vacate the re-entered default. Finding that the Defendants failed to plead or establish "good cause" as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(c), the court, on August 28, 2006, denied their motion.

On October 6, 2006, with supporting affidavits and exhibits, Plaintiffs, in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2), moved for judgment. Plaintiff seeks judgment in the amount of the unpaid pension and benefit contributions plus interest thereon, the cost of the audit that revealed the delinquent contributions, return of delinquent dues check-off plus interest thereon, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees and costs of this action.

On December 12, 2006, the court conducted a hearing on Plaintiffs' motion to provide the Defendants with an opportunity to contest the amount of damages claimed in Plaintiffs' motion and supported by Plaintiffs' affidavits and exhibits. See Flynn v. Masonry, 233 F.R.D. 176, 177 (D.D.C. 2005)("A default judgment establishes the defaulting party's liability for the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint.")(citing Adkins v. Teseo, 189 F. Supp. 2d 15, 17 (D.D.C. 2001). A hearing was appropriate because a default judgment by itself does not automatically establish liability in the amount claimed by the plaintiff. Flynn v. Masonry, 233 F.R.D. at 177 (internal citation omitted); see also Flynn v. Angelucci Bros. & Sons, Inc., 448 F. Supp. 2d 193 (D.D.C. 2006); Flynn v. Mastro Masonry Contrs., 237 F. Supp. 2d 66 (D.D.C. 2002).

DISCUSSION

The statute mandates most of the relief that Plaintiffs request. ERISA, under section 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g), specifically provides that:

(2)In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a judgment in favor of the plan is awarded, the court shall award the plan--(A) the unpaid contributions,

(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,

(C) an amount equal to the ...


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