United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL NO. 101, PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
MCCLAN CONSTRUCTION, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFAULT JUDGMENT
KAYS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
are five employer benefit funds (the “Funds”),
trustee of the Funds, and the labor organization representing
the employees in the Funds. In June 2019, Plaintiffs filed
suit against Defendant, seeking damages arising from
Defendant's failure to make appropriate fringe benefit
contributions to the Funds on behalf of its employees.
Plaintiffs argue Defendant's failure breached a
settlement agreement formerly agreed to by the parties.
before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for default
judgment (Doc. 6). It is GRANTED.
employs Union members who perform work covered by various
collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”). Under
the CBAs, the Defendant is required to: 1) contribute fringe
benefits-various sums per hour for each employee covered by
the CBAs; 2) submit regular written reports listing the name
of each employee, the hours worked, and the amounts
contributed for each employee; 3) allow the Funds'
trustees to inspect and make copies of Defendant's
records pertaining to the employees' compensation and
hours worked; and 4) pay Union dues. Defendant is also
obligated to pay liquidated damages, interest, audit costs,
and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to enforce
audit conducted in 2018 revealed that Defendant had
underreported hours and failed to remit contributions to the
Funds from January 2015 to November 2017. Although this was a
breach of §§ 502 and 515 of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§
1132 and 1145 and § 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, the parties
reached a settlement agreement in which Defendant agreed to
pay a total of $60, 736.62 for unpaid benefits for the period
from January 2015 to June 2018. This amount constituted
delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, interest, and
fees owed. Defendant made some initial payments, but soon
started submitting untimely payments. By January 2019,
Defendant had stopped making payments altogether. Ultimately,
Defendant paid $38, 261.42 in settlement installment payments
and another $5, 292.60 from a prepayment balance.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in federal court. Defendant was
served on June 24, 2019, but failed to participate in this
action, so the clerk entered default against it. Plaintiffs
then filed the instant motion for default judgment. Defendant
did not respond.
defendant is in default, a court may enter a default judgment
against that party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). In 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. 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). A plaintiff may prove damages
by an affidavit and supporting documentation. See 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.”).
Court finds that Defendant breached the settlement
agreement-as well as violated ERISA and the LMRA-by failing
to pay the full $60, 736.62 it owed to the Funds for
delinquent contributions. Although Defendant paid some amount
due under the settlement agreement, it still owes the Funds
$17, 182.60 for delinquent contributions, liquidated damages,
interest, and fees.Further, after Defendant breached the
settlement, Plaintiffs performed another audit of the Funds
and found additional delinquent contributions in the amount
of $34, 893.77, which includes delinquent contributions,
liquidated damages, and interest. Thus, the Court finds
Plaintiffs have proven that judgment should be entered
against Defendant for $52, 076.37.
Plaintiffs seek attorneys' fees and costs of $2, 519.25
for the work done in this case. The Court must determine that
the fees are reasonable. Greater Kansas City Laborers
Pension Fund v. Thummel, 738 F.2d 926, 931 (8th Cir.
1984). That determination is within the district court's
Plaintiffs' counsel's affidavit calculates fees of
$2, 019.25, representing 8.3 hours of attorney's time
billed at $205 per hour, as well as 3.1 hours for paralegal
services billed at $102.50 per hour. Costs, including the
$400 filing fee and the $100 service of process fee, total
$500. The Court finds, considering the amounts involved ...