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Flynn v. Extreme Granite

December 3, 2009

JOHN FLYNN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
EXTREME GRANITE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document No.: 7

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE PLAINTIFFS'MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court on the plaintiffs' motion for entry of default judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2). The plaintiffs are the fiduciaries of the Bricklayers and Trowel Trades International Pension Fund, the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers International Health Fund and the International Masonry Institute, which are "employee benefit plans" and "multiemployer plans" within the meaning of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002 et seq. The plaintiffs commenced this action on February 25, 2008, alleging that the defendant failed to make contributions to the employee benefit plans as required by ERISA and the applicable collective bargaining agreements. The plaintiffs served the defendant with a copy of the complaint on June 5, 2008, and to date the defendant has not responded to the complaint. Therefore, the court grants the plaintiffs' motion for default judgment and awards them $41,316.97 in damages. Additionally, the court grants the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief requiring the defendant to grant the plaintiffs access to the defendant's books and records for the purpose of conducting an audit.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On February 25, 2008, the plaintiffs initiated this action to recover delinquent contributions to the employee benefit plans and to seek access to the defendant's books and records. Compl. ¶¶ 27-28.*fn1 Because the defendant repeatedly failed to provide the plaintiffs' representatives with access to its records, the plaintiffs estimated the amount of these delinquent contributions based on the number of hours worked by the defendant's unionized employees. Id. ¶¶ 17-19, 23-34.*fn2 The plaintiffs also seek interest on the estimated delinquent contributions, damages, attorney's fees and costs. Id. ¶¶ 28-32.

The plaintiffs assert that representatives of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen and its affiliated local unions entered into a series of collective bargaining agreements with the defendant, which the defendant violated by failing to provide reports, make monthly payments to the employee benefit plans and allow the plaintiffs access to its records. Id.

¶¶ 9-12. The plaintiffs also contend that the defendant's failure to comply with the collective bargaining agreements violates ERISA. Id. ¶ 1.

The plaintiffs served the defendant with the complaint and summons on June 5, 2008.

See generally Compl. Upon the plaintiffs' request, the Clerk of the Court entered default on February 4, 2009. Pls.' Mot., Ex. C. Consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55,*fn3 the plaintiffs then filed the instant motion on May 6, 2009.*fn4 Pls.' Mot. at 3. Throughout this period, the defendant has not pleaded or otherwise defended itself against this action.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for Entry of Default Judgment Under Rule 55(b)(2)

A court has the power to enter default judgment when a defendant fails to defend its case appropriately or otherwise engages in dilatory tactics. Keegel v. Key W. & Caribbean Trading Co., 627 F.2d 372, 375 n.5 (D.C. Cir. 1980). Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for entry of default "[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provided by these rules." FED. R. CIV. P. 55(a).

Upon request of the party entitled to default, Rule 55(b)(2) authorizes the court to enter against the defendant a default judgment for the ...


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