United States District Court, District of Columbia
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION NATIONAL INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, Plaintiffs,
ABC WINDOW CLEANING COMPANY, INC., Defendant.
BERMAN JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Service Employees International Union National Industry
Pension Fund and the Trustees for the SEIU Pension Fund
brought this action against defendant ABC Window Cleaning
Company, Inc. ("ABC Window") pursuant to the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"),
as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1132 et seq
Compl. [Dkt. #1]. They allege that defendant failed to submit
reports to the SEIU Pension Fund and contribute the proper
amounts owed under the relevant collective bargaining
agreement. Id.¶¶lO, 12-13. Because
defendant has not fulfilled its obligations, plaintiffs ask
the Court to enforce the reporting requirement, and they
allege that they are entitled to collect unpaid
contributions, interest, liquidated damages, and
attorneys' fees and costs. Id. ¶ 1.
pending before the Court is plaintiffs' motion for entry
of default judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b)(2). Pis.' Mot. for Default J. [Dkt. # 9]
("Pis.' Mot."); Pis.' Mem. in Supp. of
Pls.' Mot. [Dkt. # 9] ("Pis.' Mem.").
Plaintiffs request that the Court order defendant to submit
delinquent remittance reports, and that the Court retain
jurisdiction to enter judgment for any contributions,
interest, or liquidated damages determined to be owed based
on those remittance reports. Pis.' Mem. at 9. Plaintiffs
have also asked the Court to enter an order requiring
defendant to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and
considered plaintiffs' submissions, applicable case law,
statutory authority, and the record of the case as a whole,
the Court will grant plaintiffs' motion for default
2009, plaintiffs and defendant entered into a collective
bargaining agreement through their bargaining
representatives, Service Employees International Union Local
1 and Illinois Association of Building Maintenance
Contractors, respectively. Compl. ¶ 10; Ex. 2 to Compl.
[Dkt. # 1-2] ("CBA"). As part of the CBA, defendant
agreed to abide by a Trust Agreement, under which employers
must "contribute to the [SEIU Pension] Fund the required
contributions and shall make such reports to the Fund as may
be required by the Trustees." Ex. 3 to Compl. [Dkt. #
1-3] ("Trust Agreement") at 2; CBA at 16-17;
see also Compl. ¶ 14. Under the Trust
Agreement, an employer must submit "remittance
reports" that contain "the names of each covered
employee and the number of compensable hours for each
employee during the reporting month, " along with the
corresponding contributions. Compl. ¶ 15. Pursuant to
the Trust Agreement and the CBA, "[defendant was
required to contribute $1.05 per hour for each hour worked by
covered employees." Id. ¶ 12. "[T]his
amount increased to $1.10 per hour for each hour worked,
" effective January 1, 2010. Id.
who fail to submit the required remittance reports and
contributions are "liable for interest at the rate often
percent (10%) per annum, liquidated damages at the greater of
the interest on the delinquent contributions or twenty
percent (20%) of the delinquent contributions . . ., and
attorneys' fees and costs." Compl. ¶
16. Defendant would also owe additional surcharges and
contributions pursuant to the Pension Protection Act
("PPA") if the SEIU Pension Fund was deemed to be
in critical status, which was the case from 2009 to 2016.
Id. ¶¶ 17-18;see 29 U.S.C.§
filed a complaint in this case on September 29, 2016, seeking
"to collect unpaid collectively bargained remittance
reports, contributions . . . [PPA] supplemental
contributions, interest, liquidated damages and
attorneys' fees and costs" allegedly owed by
defendant pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1145. Compl. ¶ 1.
Plaintiffs allege that for the months of February 2015, April
2015, June 2015, and February 2016, defendant did not
"remit certain required reports and contributions"
and "failed to pay certain interest charges and
liquidated damages owed to the SEIU Pension Fund."
December 20, 2016, the summons and complaint were served on
the Illinois Secretary of State, in accordance with Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 4(c) and 4(h)(1). See
Summons Returned Executed [Dkt. # 6]. Defendant failed to
file an answer or otherwise respond to plaintiffs'
complaint, so plaintiffs filed an affidavit for default on
January 18, 2017, Pis.' Aff for Clerk's Entry of
Default [Dkt. # 7], and the Clerk of Court entered default
against defendant on January 19, 2017. Clerk's Entry of
Default [Dkt. # 8]. Plaintiffs then filed this motion on
March 1, 2017. Pis.'Mot.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) provides that the clerk of the
court must enter a party's 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).
After a default has been entered, a court may enter a default
judgment order pursuant to Rule 55(b). Whether default
judgment is appropriate is in the discretion of the trial
court. Keegel v. Key West & Caribbean
Trading Co., 627 F.2d 372, 375 n.5 (D.C. Cir. 1980);
Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d 831, 835 (D.C. Cir.
1980). Upon entry of default by the clerk of the court, the
"defaulting defendant is deemed to admit every
well-pleaded allegation in the complaint." 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), citing Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hughes,
449 F.2d 51, 63 (2d Cir. 1971). "Although the default
establishes a defendant's liability, the court is
required to make an independent determination of the sum to
be awarded unless the amount of damages is certain."
Id., citing Adkins v. Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15, 17
(D.D.C. 2001). Accordingly, when moving for a default
judgment, the plaintiff must prove its entitlement to the
amount of monetary damages requested. Id. (citation
omitted). "In ruling on such a motion, the court may
rely on detailed affidavits or documentary evidence to
determine the appropriate sum for the default judgment."
Id. (citation omitted).
"the absence of any request to set aside the default or
suggestion by the defendant that it has a meritorious
defense, " the Court concludes that default judgment is
appropriate in this case. Int'l Painters & Allied
Trades Indus. Pension Fund v. Auxier Drywall, LLC, 531
F.Supp.2d 56, 57 (D.D.C. 2008), quoting Gutierrez v. Berg
Contracting Inc., No. 99-3044, 2000 WL 331721, at *1
(D.D.C. Mar. 20, 2000). The Clerk of Court has already
entered defendant's default, so the factual allegations
in the complaint are therefore taken as true. See R.W
Amrine Drywall Co., 239 F.Supp.2d at 30. The Court finds
that plaintiffs' complaint sufficiently alleges facts to
support its claims, and therefore, plaintiffs are entitled to
default judgment on the question of defendant's liability
for its failure to pay contributions under the terms of the
CBA and related agreements. The Court further finds that
plaintiffs are entitled to receive the requested delinquent
Plaintiffs are entitled to the delinquent ...