United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
EMPLOYERS AND CEMENT MASONS #90 HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
ALBRIGHT CONCRETE, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Masons Local #90 (“Union”) and various of its
trust funds bring this action under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §
1145, claiming that defendants Albright Concrete and Josh
Albright, doing business as Albright Concrete, failed to make
contributions to the various funds as it was obligated to do
under its Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”)
with the Union.
being served with process, defendants failed to timely answer
or otherwise respond to plaintiffs' complaint, and the
clerk of court entered default against them. At the
plaintiffs' request, I ordered defendants to submit
outstanding fringe benefit remittance reports. Defendants
initially failed to respond, necessitating multiple hearings
and a finding of contempt. Defendants eventually provided to
plaintiffs the names of hired employees and their hours
worked in September 2016. Plaintiffs now move for entry of
default judgment. Because the affidavits and other evidence
submitted support plaintiffs' requested judgment, I will
grant their motion and enter default judgment against the
defendants. However, I will reduce the award of
attorneys' fees to a reasonable amount.
default has been entered against a defendant, he is deemed to
have admitted all well-pleaded factual allegations in the
complaint. See Taylor v. City of Ballwin, Mo., 859
F.2d 1330, 1333 n. 7 (8th Cir. 1988). While factual
allegations in the complaint are generally taken as true,
those allegations relating to the amount of damages must be
proven to a reasonable degree of certainty. Everyday
Learning Corp. v. Larson, 242 F.3d 815, 818 (8th Cir.
2001); Stephenson v. El-Batrawi, 524 F.3d 907,
916-17 (8th Cir. 2008). Evidence and supporting documents
must provide a basis for the amount of damages sought by
plaintiffs and awarded by the Court. Stephenson, 524
F.3d at 917.
entering judgment in favor of a benefits plan under 29 U.S.C.
§ 1132, I 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
(D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs
of the action, to be paid by the defendant, and
(E) such other legal or equitable relief as
the court deems appropriate.
29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).
plaintiffs request judgment against defendants in the amount
of $4736.50 in delinquent fringe benefit contributions and
$947.30 in liquidated damages. Plaintiffs previously filed a
copy of the CBA between the parties which was signed by
defendant Albright on behalf of Albright Concrete. ECF No.
10-1. Plaintiffs now submit as evidence an email from
defendant Albright listing the four employees he hired in
September 2016 and the number of hours of regular and
overtime that they worked for him. Albright's information
is supported by affidavits from two of the four employees,
attesting to the number of hours worked. Plaintiffs also
submitted the Union reporting form which establishes the
required contribution rates due to the funds for each hour of
straight-time and overtime pay. Plaintiffs' provided a
chart summarizing the amounts owed and the rates by which the
delinquent contributions were calculated. Plaintiffs also
seek twenty percent (20%) of the delinquent contribution
amount as liquidated damages, as allowed under ...