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International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local No. 10 v. ACME Erectors, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

October 17, 2016

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BRIDGE, STRUCTURAL, ORNAMENTAL AND REINFORCING IRON WORKERS LOCAL NO. 10, Plaintiff,
v.
ACME ERECTORS, INC., and HCH CONSTRUCTION, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          ROBERT E. LARSEN Magistrate Judge.

         Before the court are motions to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the complaint fails to include facts to support its conclusory allegations that defendants are alter egos of each other and are a “single employer” under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) and therefore fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted. For the reasons stated below, defendants' motions will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 27, 2016, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants Acme Erectors, Inc., and HCH Construction, Inc. Plaintiff (“Union”) alleges that a collective bargaining agreement was entered into by the Union and defendant Acme Erectors, Inc., (“Acme”). The collective bargaining agreement requires that Acme pay wages to its covered employees according to the wage rates specified in the collective bargaining agreement and make fringe benefit contributions to certain employee benefit plans established and maintained for the purpose of providing retirement, medical, and other benefits for employees of contractors, such as Acme, who enter into collective bargaining agreements with the Union. The complaint alleges that defendant HCH Construction, Inc., (“HCH”) is an alter ego of Acme, that the two are a “single employer” under federal labor law, and that HCH is bound to the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent as Acme.

         Count One: Alter Ego

8. Upon information and belief, Defendants Acme and HCH have shared, and continue to share, substantially identical and/or common management and/or control of labor relations, business purpose, operations, equipment, customers and/or types of customers, supervision, ownership, and/or financial control.
9. Upon information and belief, Defendant HCH has been operated as an artifice and a sham so as to avoid the obligations imposed under the [collective bargaining agreement].
* * * * *
11. Defendants Acme and HCH are operated without any regard for their supposed corporate separateness from each other, and are disguised forms of the same entity. Defendant HCH was formed and/or has been operated so as to evade the responsibilities imposed under the [collective bargaining agreement] to which Acme is signatory. As such, Defendants Acme and HCH are alter egos; Defendant HCH is bound to the [collective bargaining agreement] to the same extent as is Defendant Acme; and Plaintiff is entitled to pierce the corporate veils of Defendants and to enforce against Defendant HCH all obligations imposed under the [collective bargaining agreement], including the obligations to pay wages to the employees of HCH at the rates established by the [collective bargaining agreement], and the obligation to remit fringe benefit contributions to the employee benefit plans specified in the [collective bargaining agreement].
12. Defendant HCH has failed to pay all of its employees wages at the rates established under the [collective bargaining agreement], and further, has failed to remit fringe benefit contributions to the employee benefit plans specified in the [collective bargaining agreement]. Accordingly, Defendant HCH, and its alter ego Defendant Acme, are in breach of the [collective bargaining agreement].

         Count Two: Single Employer

14. Defendants Acme and HCH share interrelated operations, common management, centralized control of labor relations, and/or common ownership or financial control. As such, Defendants Acme and HCH are single employers under federal labor law; Defendant HCH is bound to the [collective bargaining agreement] to the same extent as is Defendant Acme; and Plaintiff is entitled to enforce against Defendant HCH all obligations imposed under the [collective bargaining agreement], including the obligations to pay wages to the employees of HCH at the rates established by the [collective bargaining agreement], and the obligation to remit fringe benefit contributions to the employee benefit plans specified in the [collective bargaining agreement].
15. Defendant HCH has failed to pay all of its employees wages at the rates established under the [collective bargaining agreement], and further, has failed to remit fringe benefit contributions to the employee benefit plans specified in the [collective bargaining agreement]. Accordingly, Defendants HCH and Acme, as a single employer, are in breach of the [collective bargaining agreement].

         On July 13, 2016, defendant Acme filed a motion to dismiss the complaint (document number 15) on the ground that the complaint lacks any facts to support its conclusory allegations and therefore the complaint fails to state a claim against Acme under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”). On July 19, 2016, defendant HCH filed a motion to dismiss (document number 17), merely incorporating the motion to dismiss previously filed by defendant Acme. On July 27, 2016, plaintiff filed a response to both motions (document number 18) arguing that the factual basis in the complaint is incorrectly considered a legal conclusion in ...


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