United States District Court, District of Columbia
Service Employees International Union National Industry Pension Fund, et al., Plaintiffs,
Castle Hill Health Care Providers, LLC, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Amit P. Mehta, United States District Judge
A party cannot avoid summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) simply by claiming that it needs more time to discover facts to support its opposition. Rule 56(d) requires a party seeking relief under the rule to have shown diligence in pursuing discovery. The party also must articulate what facts it hopes to discover and why those facts are needed. Defendants here have failed to demonstrate entitlement to relief under Rule 56(d). They have not been diligent in their pursuit of discovery. Nor have they identified what facts they hope to learn through discovery or stated why such facts are necessary to oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment. Because Defendants have failed to demonstrate that they are entitled to additional time to conduct discovery under Rule 56(d), the court will enter summary judgment in Plaintiffs’ favor.
A. Factual Background
1. Contractual History
Plaintiff Service Employees International Union National Industry Pension Fund (the “Pension Fund”) is a multiemployer pension plan within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). Pls.’ Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 19 [hereinafter “Pls.’ Mot.”], Ex., Pls.’ Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute, ECF No. 19-2 [hereinafter “Pls.’ Statement”], ¶¶ 1-2. The Pension Fund provides pension benefits to eligible employees of contributing employers. Id.
Defendants Castle Hill Healthcare Providers d/b/a Castle Hill Health Care Center and Alaris Health, LLC, d/b/a Castle Hill Health Care Center (collectively, “Castle Hill”), operate a long-term healthcare facility located in Union City, New Jersey. Defs.’ Opp’n, ECF No. 23, at 1-2. In 1992, Castle Hill entered into a collective bargaining agreement (the “1992 CBA”) with Service Employees International Union, Local 1199NJ (the “Union”), the collective bargaining agent for some of Castle Hill’s employees. Compl., ECF No. 1, at 4. Ten years later, Castle Hill and the Union modified the 1992 CBA in a new agreement (the “2002 Agreement”). Compl. at 4; see also Compl., Ex. 2, ECF No. 1-2. To comply with Section 6 of the new 2002 Agreement- which required Castle Hill to provide pension benefits to employees through the “SEIU Pension Plan”-Castle Hill entered into a participation agreement with Plaintiff (the “Participation Agreement”) in November 2002. Compl. at 4-5; see also Compl., Ex. 3, ECF No. 1-3. The Participation Agreement stated that the “Employer, ” i.e., Castle Hill, “agrees to be bound by the provisions of the Agreement and Declaration of Trust establishing the Fund . . . and by all resolutions and rules adopted by the Trustees . . . including collection policies, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged.” Compl. at 4 (quoting Compl., Ex. 3 at 2).
Together, the 2002 Agreement and the Participation Agreement required Castle Hill to contribute 1.5 percent of each covered employee’s gross monthly wages to the Pension Fund starting in 2002. Compl. at 5. That amount increased in 2004 and 2005 to 1.7 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively. Id. In addition, the Collection Policy, referenced in the Participation Agreement, provided that an employer that fell short of its contributions to the Pension Fund would be liable for interest at a rate of 10 percent per annum, liquidated damages at a rate of 20 percent after the commencement of legal action, and attorney’s fees and costs. Compl., Ex. 5, ECF No. 1-5, at 9-10.
In 2010, Castle Hill and the Union entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (the “2010 MOU”) extending the collective bargaining agreement and providing that the pension contribution rate would increase to 2.2 percent. Compl. at 5; Compl., Ex. 6, ECF No. 1-6, at 3. The 2010 MOU also provided that the pension contribution rate would increase to 2.37 percent after one year, and to 2.55 percent after two years. Id.
2. The Rehabilitation Plan
As a result of investment losses in 2008, the Pension Fund was deemed to be in “critical status” each year between 2009 through 2014. Pls.’ Mot., Ex., Decl. of Kenneth J. Anderson, ECF No. 19-4 [hereinafter “Anderson Decl.”], ¶ 14; Compl., Ex. 9, ECF No. 1-9. In accordance with the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-280 (2006) (“PPA”), the Pension Fund established a Rehabilitation Plan, which required participating employers to pay surcharges (“PPA surcharges”) and supplemental contributions to it under either one of two schedules-either a “Default” or “Preferred” Schedule. Anderson Decl. ¶¶ 15-16. The Pension Fund sent letters to participating employers notifying them of its critical status and the Rehabilitation Plan with its two scheduling options. Id. ¶¶ 14-16 (citing Compl., Ex. 8, ECF No. 1-8, and Compl., Ex. 9, ECF No. 1-9).
Castle Hill opted to make its supplemental contributions according to the Preferred Schedule. Compl. at 8. Under this schedule, Defendants owed, on April 1, 2010, a supplemental contribution of 10.0 percent of all contributions due; on April 1, 2011, a supplemental contribution of 18.5 percent of all contributions due; on April 1, 2012, a supplemental contribution of 27.7 percent of all contributions due; and on April 1, 2013, a supplemental contribution of 37.6 percent of all contributions due. Id.
3. Outstanding Payments
According to Plaintiffs, for various months in the years 2010 through 2014, Defendants failed to pay the required contributions, interest charges, and liquidated damages as to three of its healthcare facilities. Pl.’s Statement ¶ 29. Based on Plaintiffs’ calculations, for Site 2815, otherwise known as “C.N.A.’s, ” Castle Hill owes $10, 109.69 in contributions for certain months between April 2011 through September 2014; for Site 2354, otherwise known as “Dietary/Hskpg, ” Castle Hill owes $4, 370.75 in contributions for certain months between November 2011 through September 2014; and for Site 2825, otherwise known as “Sunshine Recreation, ” Castle Hill owes $43.28 in contributions for ...