United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
LOCAL UNION NO. 124 I.B.E.W. PENSION TRUST FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
REYNOLDS ELECTRIC, INC., Defendant.
ORDER ENTERING JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT IN THE
AMOUNT OF $83, 997.28
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Defendant Reynolds Electric, Inc. (“Defendant”),
failed to respond to Plaintiffs' Complaint, the Clerk
entered default against it. Plaintiffs moved for default
judgment. The Court granted their motion in part, ordering
that Plaintiffs perform an accounting for damages and submit
evidentiary support for their damages request. Now before the
Court is Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief in Support of
Plaintiffs' Award of Damages, and three supporting
affidavits (Doc. 20). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court enters default judgment against Defendant and in favor
of Plaintiffs in the total amount set forth below.
action centers around seven employee pension benefit plans
(“the Funds”), who are some of the Plaintiffs
here. Four other Plaintiffs are the Funds'
trustees. The remaining Plaintiff is the union (the
“Union”), which administers the Funds pursuant to
certain collective bargaining agreements.
according to the Complaint, employed electrical workers who
were Union members. As part of this arrangement, Defendant
signed the Union's collective bargaining agreements and
accepted three pertinent obligations. First, Defendant agreed
to contribute various sums per hour per employee to the
Funds. Second, Defendant agreed to submit regular written
reports listing the names and hours worked and the amounts
contributed for each relevant employee. The Funds'
trustees were permitted to inspect and make copies of
Defendant's records that pertain to the employees'
compensation. Third, Defendant agreed to pay the Union
supplemental dues, which were deducted from the electrical
January 1, 2014, Defendant has failed to submit the necessary
reports and to pay the Funds correctly. Because Defendant has
not permitted an accounting, Plaintiffs were unsure of the
exact amount of contributions Defendant owes the Funds.
Defendant has not paid the Union any supplemental dues.
sued Defendant under the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (“ERISA”) and the Labor Management Relations
Act (“LMRA”). The Funds and their trustees seek
money damages, including the unpaid fringe benefit
contributions due under the collective bargaining agreements,
and an order requiring Defendant to maintain records in the
future listing the names and hours worked, and the amounts
contributed for each relevant employee. The Union seeks money
damages equal to the unpaid supplemental dues. All Plaintiffs
seek an accounting, interest, attorney's fees, and costs.
served Defendant's registered agent, Larry Reynolds (Doc.
3). When Defendant failed to respond to the Complaint,
Plaintiffs moved for an entry of default against Defendant
(Doc. 5). The Clerk entered default (Doc. 10), and the Court
ordered Defendant to show cause why default judgment should
not be entered against it (Doc. 11). Defendant failed to
respond, and the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for
default judgment in part, finding against Defendant for each
of the allegations relating to liability (Doc. 13).
Specifically, the Court found Defendant violated 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1059(a) and 1145 by failing to make
contributions to the plans and keep records regarding
employee benefits. Additionally, the Court found Defendant
violated 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) by breaching a contract with
a union. The Court ordered Plaintiff to file a brief
outlining the evidence in support of their claim for money
damages and attorney's fees, accompanied by any
evidentiary support for these amounts.
November 8, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a brief and two supporting
affidavits outlining the requested awards. These requests are
Plaintiffs are entitled to recover a total of $65, 533.32 in
unpaid contributions; $13, 107.07 in liquidated damages; and
$491.50 in interest.
Plaintiffs seek judgment against Defendant for unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, interest, and costs.
Plaintiffs audited Defendant's business books and records
relating to Plaintiffs' claims and calculated all unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, and interest owed for the
period September 1, 2015, through February 7, 2016. The audit
revealed: (1) unpaid contributions for this period totaled
$65, 533.32; (2) liquidated damages totaled $13, 107.07; and
(3) interest due totaled $491.50. (Doc. 20-2 at ¶ 8).
considering a motion for default judgment, the court takes as
true all allegations in the complaint that relate to
liability. Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 871 (8th
Cir. 2010). The court does not take as true conclusions of
law or factual allegations relating to damages. Id.
Once liability under ERISA is established, a court is
required to award a plaintiff damages for: (1) unpaid
contributions, (2) interest on the unpaid contributions, (3)
liquidated damages, and (4) reasonable attorney's fees
and costs. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2). The plaintiff must
prove allegations pertaining to the amount of damages
“to a reasonable degree of certainty.” St.
Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Reg'l Council v. Joseph
Constr., Inc., No. 4:16-CV-00929-AGF, 2016 WL 6524342,
at *2 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 3, 2016) (quoting Painters Dist.
Council No. 2 v. Diversified Drywall Sys., Inc., No.
4:11-CV-1823 CEJ, 2012 WL 6740650, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 31,
2012)). Plaintiff may prove damages by a sworn affidavit and
supporting documentation. See, e.g., Id. at *2-3
(relying on affidavits from accountant and controller of
pension funds and plaintiffs' attorney to enter damages
award for ERISA default); H&R Block Enters. LLC v.
Ascher, No. 4:15-cv-00178-SRB, 2015 WL 5008996, at *4
(W.D. Mo. Aug. 20, 2015) (“Affidavit evidence is
sufficient to support an award of damages for purposes of a
default judgment.”); SSM Managed Care Org., L.L.C
v. Comprehensive Behavioral Care, Inc., No. 4:12-CV-2386
CAS, 2014 WL 1389581, at *2-4 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 9, 2014)
(relying on affidavits of movant's attorney and executive
officer as sufficient to establish attorney's fees and
costs, and damages from breach of facility provider
Court finds that the sworn affidavits supplied by Plaintiffs
are sufficient to prove judgment should be entered ...