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St. Louis - Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council v. J.B. Carpentry Services, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 21, 2017

ST. LOUIS-KANSAS CITY CARPENTERS REGIONAL COUNCIL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
J.B. CARPENTRY SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RODNEY W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Fringe benefit funds affiliated with the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council seek to collect delinquent contributions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1132. Defendant J.B. Carpentry Services, Inc. has not responded to the summons and complaint. After review of Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment and accompanying affidavits and materials, I conclude Plaintiffs are entitled to a default judgment in the amount of $8, 920.89.

         Defendant J.B. Carpentry Services, Inc. is a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Regional Council. The collective bargaining agreement requires J.B. Carpentry to submit reports showing hours worked by each covered employee and make fringe benefit contributions. The agreement requires the payment of interest not greater than 10% per annum on delinquent contributions and liquidated damages not greater than 20% of delinquent contributions. The agreement also requires delinquent employers to pay the Funds' attorneys' fees and court costs for legal proceedings to collect delinquent fringe benefit contributions.

         Based on reports submitted, J.B. Carpentry failed to make required fringe benefit contributions of $6, 403.18 for the period of June 22, 2016 to August 10, 2016. Plaintiffs request the delinquent contributions plus $1, 280.64 in liquidated damages, $187.99 in interest, $382.50 in attorneys' fees, and $666.58 in court costs.

         Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on February 16, 2017. A return of summons indicates J.B. Carpentry was served with the summons and complaint on March 9, 2017. J.B. Carpentry has not filed an answer or responsive pleading. On April 14, 2017, the Clerk of Court filed an Entry of Default. Plaintiffs move for default judgment.

         Upon entry of default, a defendant's liability is established and the allegations of the complaint except as to the amount of damages are taken as true. Brown v. Kenron Aluminum & Glass Corp., 477 F.2d 526, 531 (8th Cir. 1973). Affidavits may be submitted to prove damages after the Clerk's entry of default. United Artist Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th Cir. 1979).

         Plaintiffs seek payment of certain fringe benefit contributions covered under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2). Section 1132(g)(2) provides as follows:

(2) In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a judgment in favor of the plan is awarded, the court shall award the plan-
(A) the unpaid contributions
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions
(C) an amount equal to the greater of-
(i) interest on the unpaid contributions, or (ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an amount not in excess of 20 percent (or such higher percentage as may be permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount determined by the court under subparagraph (A),
(D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action, to be paid by ...

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