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Trustees of Plumbers & Pipefitters Nat'l Pension Fund v. Precision Control Systems of Indianapolis, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

November 12, 2014

TRUSTEES OF THE PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS NATIONAL PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PRECISION CONTROL SYSTEMS OF INDIANAPOLIS, INC., Defendant

For Trustees of the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund, Trustees of the International Training Fund, Plaintiffs: John R. Harney, LEAD ATTORNEY, O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP, Washington, DC; Rebecca Ann Richardson, O Donoghue & O Donoghue, Washington, DC.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Ivan D. Davis, United States Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Trustees of the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund's (" NPF") and the Trustees of the International Training Fund's (" ITF") (collectively " Plaintiffs") Motion for Default Judgment against Precision Control Systems of Indianapolis, Inc. (" Defendant") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b) (2). (Dkt. No. 8.) After a licensed attorney for Defendant failed to appear at the hearing on August 29, 2014, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took this matter under advisement. Upon consideration of the Complaint, Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment, and the supporting affidavits, the undersigned Magistrate Judge makes the following findings and recommends that default judgment be entered against Defendant.

I. INTRODUCTION

On May 30, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this action under Sections 502 and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (" ERISA"), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § § 1132 and 1145, and under Section 301(a) and (c) of the Labor Management Relations Act (" LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) and (c). (Mot. Default J. ¶ 1.) These Acts allow parties to enforce provisions of their collective bargaining agreements. In filing their Complaint, Plaintiffs seek unpaid contributions, interest on the unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, injunctive relief, [1] and attorneys' fees and costs, pursuant to ERISA, LMRA, the Collective Bargaining Agreements, and the Restated Agreements and Declarations of Trust executed by the United Association Local Union No. 157 (" Local Union No. 157"), United Association Local Union No. 440 (" Local Union No. 440"), and Defendant. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 5, 15, 19(A)-(D), 26, 30(A)-(D), 34(A); Mem. Supp. Default J. at 3.)

A. Jurisdiction and Venue

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § § 185(a), 1132, and 1145 because the funds are administered from the Plaintiffs' principal place of business in Alexandria, Virginia. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 2, 4.) Where an action is brought in a district court of the United States under Sections 502 and 515 of ERISA, it may be brought in the district where the plan is administered, where the breach took place, or where a defendant resides or may be found. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e) (2). Moreover, " [a suit] for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce . . . may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties." 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant under the decision in Board of Trustees, Sheet Metal Workers National Pension Fund v. McD Metals, Inc . 964 F.Supp. 1040, 1045 (E.D. Va. 1997).[2] Additionally, this Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant pursuant to Section 502 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e) (2), and Section 301(c) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). (Compl. ¶ 4.) Venue is also properly situated in this District because the breach of the collective bargaining agreements and consequential breach of Section 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1145, occurred within this judicial district. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 2.)

B. Service of Process

Under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e) (2), service of process is proper in any district where a defendant resides or may be found. When a plaintiff fails to serve the defendant properly under federal or state law, a court lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendant and may not enter default judgment against him. Omni Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97, 104, 108 S.Ct. 404, 98 L.Ed.2d 415 (1987), superseded by statute on other grounds, Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k), (stating " [s]ervice of summons is the procedure by which a court having venue and jurisdiction of the subject matter of the suit asserts jurisdiction over the person of the party served." (quoting Miss. Publ'g Corp. v. Murphree, 326 U.S. 438, 444-45, 66 S.Ct. 242, 90 L.Ed. 185 (1946))); Cent. Operating Co. v. Util. Workers of Am., 491 F.2d 245, 249, 251 (4th Cir. 1974) (reversing district court's decision to enter default judgment against a non-resident defendant union because the court lacked personal jurisdiction where the plaintiff failed to effectively serve the union with summons and complaint).

Although § 1132(e) states where a defendant may be served, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide the manner in which service must occur. Under Rule 4(h), service upon a corporation, partnership, or other unincorporated association shall be effectuated " in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(e) (1) for serving an individual; or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process . . . ." Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(h).

On June 9, 2014, a private process server served Randie Allen, an agent designated and authorized to accept service on behalf of Defendant company, with a true and correct copy of the Summons, Complaint, and Certificate of Service. (Dkt. No. 4.) Therefore, Plaintiffs properly ...


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