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Fanning v. Angus Corp.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 16, 2013

MICHAEL R. FANNING, Plaintiff,
v.
ANGUS CORPORATION, Defendant

For MICHAEL R. FANNING, as Chief Executive Officer of the Central Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers, Plaintiff: R. Richard Hopp, O'DONOGHUE & O'DONOGHUE LLP, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 24

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Michael R. Fanning, the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers, filed suit against Defendant The Angus Corporation, alleging the Defendant failed to pay contributions owed to the Central Pension Fund. Presently before the Court is the Plaintiff's [8] Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default. Upon consideration of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds the Plaintiff is entitled to a monetary award for unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, interest, reasonable attorney's fees, and costs. Accordingly, the Plaintiff's [8] Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff filed suit on August 8, 2012, asserting the Defendant is bound by the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Site Support Alliance Agreement (" the Labor Agreement" ) to pay certain sums of money for hours of work performed by the Defendant's employees under the Labor Agreement. Compl., ECF No. [1], ¶ ¶ 6-7; Ex. B to Fanning Decl., ECF No. [8-3] (Ltr. of Assent to the Labor Agreement). Pursuant to the Labor Agreement, employers are obligated to make contributions to the Central Pension Fund for every hour worked by an employee performing work under the Labor Agreement. Fanning Decl. ¶ 9. The Defendant submitted a report reflecting the number of hours its employees work under the Labor Agreement in March 2011, indicating the Defendant owed contributions totaling $2,459.60 to the Central Pension Fund for that month. Ex. C to Fanning Decl. Although the contributions were due by no later than May 1, 2011, see Ex. E to Fanning Decl., the Defendant has yet to pay the amount due for March 2011, Fanning Decl. ¶ 9. Accordingly, the Plaintiff seeks: (1) a monetary award for the unpaid contributions; (2) liquidated damages; (3) interest on the unpaid contributions; and (4) reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Compl. at 4-5.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) provides that the Clerk of the Court must enter a party's request for a default " [w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a).

Page 25

After a default has been entered by the Clerk, a party may move the court for a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). " The determination of whether default judgment is appropriate is committed to the discretion of the trial court." Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. Auxier Drywall, LLC, 531 F.Supp.2d 56, 57 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d 831, 836, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 84 (D.C. Cir. 1980)).

Where, as here, there is a complete " absence of any request to set aside the default or suggestion by the defendant that it has a meritorious defense, it is clear that the standard for default judgment has been satisfied." Auxier Drywall, 531 F.Supp.2d at 57 (citation omitted). The Clerk of the Court entered a default as to the Defendant on September 12, 2012, therefore the factual allegations in the Complaint are taken as true. Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. R.W. Amrine Drywall Co., Inc., 239 F.Supp.2d 26, 30 (D.D.C. 2002). The Court finds that Plaintiff's Complaint sufficiently alleges facts to support their claims. The Plaintiff is thus entitled to default judgment as to Defendant's liability for its failure to make contributions owed to the Central Pension Fund for work performed by its employees in March 2011.

While the entry of default establishes the Defendant's liability, the Court is required to make an independent determination of the amount of damages to be awarded, unless the amount of damages is certain. Int'l Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. Davanc Contracting, Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 89, 94 (D.D.C. 2011). In instances where the amount of damages is not certain, the court may hold a hearing, but is not required to do so as long as there is a basis for determining damages for purposes of the default judgment. Flynn v. Extreme Granite, Inc., 671 F.Supp.2d 157, 160 (D.D.C. 2009). In making an independent determination, " the court may rely on detailed affidavits or documentary ...


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