United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ST. LOUIS - KANSAS CITY CARPENTERS REGIONAL COUNCIL et al., Plaintiffs,
BETTER BUILDING SYSTEMS, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for
default judgment against defendant Better Building Systems,
LLC, pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2), Fed.R.Civ.P.
bring this action to collect delinquent fringe benefit
contributions pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act of 1974 (LMRA), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §
185, and Section 502 of the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §
1132. Plaintiffs are the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters
Regional Council (the Union) and three employee benefit plans
(the Pension, Welfare, and Vacation Trusts) and their
trustees (collectively, the Funds). Defendant is an employer
in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of the
LMRA and ERISA. Complaint at ¶ 4 [Doc. # 1]. In
addition, defendant is party to a collective bargaining
agreement with the Union, and is bound by various trust
agreements relating to the Funds. Id. at
¶¶ 5-6. Plaintiffs allege that defendant failed to
purchase fringe benefit stamps as required by the terms of
the collective bargaining agreement. See id. at
¶ 7; Affidavit of Juli Laramie at ¶ 4 [Doc. # 7-2].
Plaintiffs seek a total of $26, 151.38 for unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, and interest, plus $457.40
for attorneys' fees and costs.
summons and a copy of the complaint were served on defendant
on October 26, 2017. Defendant did not file an answer or
other responsive pleading and, on November 29, 2017, the
Clerk of Court entered default against defendant.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), a court may enter a default judgment for
failure “to plead or otherwise defend.” When the
Clerk of the Court has entered default judgment against a
defendant, the “allegations of the complaint except as
to the amount of damages are taken as true.”
Mueller v. Jones, 2009 WL 500837, at *1 n. 2 (E.D.
Mo. Feb 27, 2009). Further, ‘[a] party seeking damages
under a default judgment must . . . prove its rights to such
damages with affidavits or other supporting
documentation.” Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v.
Kickers Corner of the Americas, Inc., 2014 WL 805731, at
*2 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 28, 2014) (citations omitted). See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6) (stating that “[a]n allegation -
other than one relating to the amount of damages - is
admitted if a responsive pleading is required and the
allegation is not denied.”).
provides that employers shall make contributions when
required by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
29 U.S.C. § 1145. Employers who fail to make the
required contributions may be liable for the unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorney's
fees, and costs. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).
is bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement
and addendum entered into between the plaintiff Union and the
Missouri-Illinois Independent Building Contractors, in effect
through May 5, 2018. Laramie Affidavit at ¶ 2. The
collective bargaining agreement requires defendant to pay
fringe benefit contributions through the purchase of fringe
benefit stamps. Id. at ¶ 4; Missouri/Illinois
Independent Area Addendum at p. 11 [Doc. # 7-4]. Failure to
purchase the fringe benefit stamps subjects defendant to
liquidated damages of 20% and imposition of interest at a
rate not to exceed 10%. Collective Bargaining Agreement at
§ 8.05 [Doc. # 7-3 at pp. 5-6]. In addition, defendant
is liable for court costs and attorneys' fees.
submit the affidavit of Juli Laramie, an accountant and the
controller for the funds. [Doc. #7-2]. Ms. Laramie's
office conducted an audit of defendant's payroll records,
for the period of July 20, 2016, through October 18, 2017.
Based on the audit, defendant owes contributions in the
amount of $23, 654.15, $275.98 in interest calculated at 4%,
and $2, 221.25 in liquidated damages. See
Spreadsheet and Interest Calculations [Docs. ## 7-5 and 7-6].
also submit the affidavit of attorney Greg A. Campbell. [Doc.
#7-1]. According to Mr. Campbell, his firm's hourly
billing rate for his services on this matter was $195.00 and
for the services of paralegals and legal assistants was
$105.00. He states that he expended 1.2 hours on this matter
and that legal assistant Deane M. Darr expended 1.3 hours,
for a total of $370.50 for legal services. The Court finds
that the hourly rates and hours expended are reasonable. In
addition, the firm paid $400.00 for the filing fee and $57.40
for service of process, for a total of $457.40, to which
plaintiffs are also entitled.
on the documentation and affidavits submitted by plaintiffs,
the Court finds that defendant Better Building Systems, LLC,
was bound at all relevant times by a valid collective
bargaining agreement and that it breached its obligations by
failing to timely purchase the required fringe benefit
stamps. Plaintiffs have established that defendant is liable
to them for $23, 654.15 in delinquent fringe benefit
contributions, $275.98 in interest, and $2, 221.25 in
liquidated damages, for a total of $26, 151.38. Plaintiffs
have also established that defendant is liable to them for
$370.50 for attorneys' fees and $457.40 in legal fees and
costs. The total amount owed by defendant to plaintiffs is
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs'
motion for default ...