Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Service Employees International Union National Industry Pension Fund v. Harborview Healthcare Center, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 10, 2016

SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION NATIONAL INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
HARBORVIEW HEALTHCARE CENTER, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs Service International Union National Industry Pension Fund (the “Fund”) and its Trustees bring this action for unpaid contributions, interest, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs against defendant Harborview Healthcare Center Inc. (“Harborview”), pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), (d)(1), (g)(2) and 1145, and the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). (Compl. at 1.) Before the Court is plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment (Pls.’ Mot. for Summary Judgment, Dec. 21, 2015 [ECF No. 15] (“Pls.’ Mot.”)), which, for the reasons stated herein, will be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         I. FACTS

         Unless otherwise noted, the facts set forth here are undisputed, taken from the Joint Stipulations of Fact and the uncontroverted portions of plaintiffs’ statement of undisputed material facts.[1] (See Joint Stipulations of Fact (“Joint Facts”) (Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 7); Pls.’ Statement of Material Facts as to Which There is No Genuine Dispute (“Pls.’ Facts”).)

         In 2010, Harborview entered into a “valid collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, New Jersey Region” (the “Union”). (See Joint Facts ¶ 1; Pls.’ Facts ¶ 4; see also Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 1 (CBA).) Pursuant to the CBA, which remains in effect today, [2] Harborview became a “participating employer in the Fund, ” a multiemployer pension plan within the meaning of ERISA that “provides pension benefits to eligible employees of contributing employers.” (Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 1, 6; see also Anderson Decl. ¶ 34; CBA art. 25.2.) As a result, Harborview became “obligated . . . to pay pension contributions to the [] Fund on behalf of its eligible employees.” (Joint Facts ¶ 2; see also Pls.’ Facts ¶ 6; CBA art. 25.1.) Under the CBA, covered employees include all “[r]egular full-time and regular part-time employees . . . after the completion of 90 days of employment, measured from their date of hire.” (CBA art. 25.3(a).) In addition to the CBA, Harborview also agreed to be bound by the “Trust Agreement” that established the Fund and the “Statement of Policy for Collection of Delinquent Contributions” (“Collection Policy”) adopted by the Fund’s Trustees.[3] (See Joint Facts ¶ 4; see also Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 7-8; CBA art. 25.4; Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 2 (Trust Agreement); Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 3 (Collection Policy).)

         Effective April 1, 2010, Harborview agreed to contribute to the Fund on behalf of its covered employees at the initial rate of “2.2% per paid hour . . . excluding overtime pay, uniform allowance and unused sick leave payout.” (CBA art. 25.3(a); see also Joint Facts ¶ 2; Pls.’ Facts ¶ 22.) Thereafter, Harborview’s contribution rate increased annually: to 2.37% (effective April 1, 2011), 2.55% (effective April 1, 2012), 2.75% (effective April 1, 2013), 2.97% (effective April 1, 2014), and 3.20% (effective April 1, 2015). (See Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 20-25; Joint Facts ¶ 3; CBA art. 25.3(a).)[4]

         Harborview’s contributions, along with “supporting remittance reports, ” are due by “the 15th day of the month following the month in which the work was performed for which the contributions are owed.” (Collection Policy § 2.1; see also Pls.’ Facts ¶ 9; Trust Agreement § 3.1; CBA art. 25.3(b), (c).) The remittance reports show the “monthly paid hours reported by [Harborview] and the monthly pension contributions paid to the . . . Fund.” (Joint Facts ¶ 8; see also Pls.’ Facts ¶ 9 (“remittance reports include hours paid, excluding overtime, for all eligible . . . employees”).)

         For delinquent contributions, the Fund is entitled to collect “interest, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and any other expenses incurred by the Fund in collecting any delinquency.”[5](Collection Policy §§ 1.5, 5.3-5.4; see also CBA art. 25.6; Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 11-13.) For contributions that are over 15 days late, the Fund charges interest at the rate of 10% per annum, calculated from the due date for the delinquent contributions through and including the date the payment is actually received by the Fund. (See Collection Policy §§ 2.4, 5.1; Pls.’ Facts ¶ 11.) For contributions that are over 30 days late, where litigation has commenced, [6] the Fund assesses liquidated damages, calculated as the greater of the interest due or 20% of the delinquent contributions. (See Collection Policy §§ 2.4, 5.2; Pls.’ Facts ¶ 12.)

         According to plaintiffs, over the past six years Harborview has failed to remit in full its required contributions for employees in three classifications covered by the CBA: certified assistant nurses, dietary and housekeeping employees, and recreational employees. (See Pls.’ Facts ¶ 26.) As a result, plaintiffs claim that Harborview owes the Fund a total of $36, 766.17 in unpaid contributions, interest as of December 21, 2015, and liquidated damages, plus a yet to be determined amount in attorneys’ fees and costs. (See Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 26-30; see also Anderson Decl. ¶¶ 31-33 & Exs. A-C thereto.) Specifically, plaintiffs calculate that Harborview owes the following: (1) for certified assistant nurses, $12, 869.02 in unpaid contributions, $4, 761.03 in liquidated damages, and $1, 724.72 in interest, for a total of $19, 354.77; (2) for dietary and housekeeping employees, $8, 766.58 in unpaid contributions, 4, 643.27 in liquidated damages, and $1, 557.38 interest, for a total of $14, 967.23; and (3) for recreational employees, $1, 413.29 in unpaid contributions, $742.84 in liquidated damages, and $288.04 in interest, for a total of $2, 444.17. (Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 28-30[7]; see also Anderson Decl. ¶¶ 25-33 & Exs. A-C thereto.) Harborview denies owing the amounts calculated by plaintiffs. (See Defs.’ Response to Plaintiffs’ Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ¶¶ 26-30 (“Defs.’ Response to Pls.’ Facts”).)

         The Fund is also authorized to conduct a payroll review audit of any contributing employer for the purpose of ensuring that such employer has complied with the contribution requirements. (See Trust Agreement § 5.1(14); Collection Policy § 4.1; Pls.’ Facts ¶ 10; CBA art. 25.5.) When an audit discloses an underpayment, the Fund sends a letter to the employer requesting payment of the underpayment, interest, and liquidated damages. (See Collection Policy §§ 4.7, 4.10.) If the employer fails to pay after three notices, the Fund files suit. (See Collection Policy § 4.7.) The Fund is also authorized to collect attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the payroll review. (See Collection Policy §§ 5.3-5.4.)

         The Fund conducted a payroll review audit of Harborview for the period of April 1, 2010, through December 31, 2011, with respect to two groups of employees: its certified assistant nurses and its recreational employees. (Pls.’ Facts ¶ 31; see also Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 6 (audit-related documents).) The conclusion of the audit was that Harborview had underreported the paid hours of eligible employees during the period covered by the audit, resulting in it owing unpaid contributions, interest and liquidated damages. (Pls.’ Facts ¶ 32; see also Pls. Mot. Ex. 6, at 1-2 (letters from the Fund to Harborview dated September 21, 2012, and November 8, 2012, attaching results of audit and seeking payment).) As of November 30, 2012, the Fund calculated that Harborview owed a total of $1, 893.08 for its certified assistant nurses ($1440.54 in unpaid contributions, $125.82 in liquidated damages and $326.72 in interest) and $143.37 for its recreational employees ($75.18 in unpaid contributions, $50.00 in liquidated damages, and $18.19 in interest), for a total of $2, 036.45. (See Pls.’ Mot. Ex. 6, at 1.) Harborview has “stipulated that it has no basis to contest the findings of the Pension Fund’s payroll audit.” (Joint Facts ¶ 7.)

         As of December 21, 2015, with the additional accrued interest and increased rate of liquidated damages due to litigation, plaintiffs calculate that Harborview owes a total of $3, 389.73 for its certified assistant nurses ($1440.93 in unpaid contributions, $228.19 in liquidated damages, and $1, 720.16 in interest) and a total of $221.61 for its recreational employees ($75.18 in unpaid contributions, $50.00 in liquidated damages, and $97.43 in interest), for a total of $3, 611.34.[8] (See Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 32-33; Anderson Decl. ¶¶ 24-36.) Defendant denies owing these amounts. (See Def.’s Response to Pls.’ Facts ¶¶ 32-33.)

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.