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Trustees of Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund v. Monarch Plumbing & Heating Co.

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

May 1, 2015

TRUSTEES OF THE PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS NATIONAL PENSION FUND, Plaintiff,
v.
MONARCH PLUMBING & HEATING CO., Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

MICHAEL S. NACHMANOFF, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the court on plaintiff Trustees of the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund's ("National Pension Fund") Motion for Default Judgment (Docket no. 8) against defendant Monarch Plumbing & Heating Co. ("Monarch"). Based on plaintiff's memorandum in support and exhibits attached thereto, the magistrate judge recommends that default judgment be entered against defendants in the total amount of $15, 632.33.

I. Procedural Background

On December 24, 2014, the National Pension Fund filed this action against Monarch for failure to pay contributions pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement in violation of Sections 502 and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145, and Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185. (Docket no. 1) ("Compl."). The defendant was served by private process server on January 21, 2015. (Docket no. 4). Defendant has not entered an appearance and has not answered or otherwise responded to the complaint, and, on March 20, 2015, the Clerk entered the default of defendant. (Docket no. 7). On March 27, 2015, the National Pension Fund filed the instant motion for default judgment. On April 17, 2015, the defendant did not appear at the hearing on this motion before the Honorable John F. Anderson, after which the undersigned Magistrate Judge took the matter under advisement.

II. Standard

As defendant has not answered or otherwise responded in any manner to the complaint and the Clerk has entered its default, the court may order default judgment against defendant. Default judgment is appropriate if the well-pled allegations of the complaint establish a plaintiff's entitlement to relief and defendant has failed to plead or defend within the time frames contained in the rules. Music City Music v. Alfa Foods, Ltd., 616 F.Supp. 1001, 1002 (E.D. Va. 1985); Fed.R.Civ.P. 55.

By defaulting, a defendant admits plaintiff's well-pled allegations of fact, which then provide the basis for judgment. Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Nishimatsu Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir.1975)). See also DIRECTV, Inc. v. Rawlins, 523 F.3d 318, 322 n.2 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Ryan ); Partington v. Am. Int'l Specialty Lines Ins. Co., 443 F.3d 334, 341 (4th Cir. 2006) (default has the effect of admitting factual allegations in the complaint); Marion County Court v. Ridge, 13 F.2d 969, 971 (4th Cir. 1926) (default admits well-pled facts). Accordingly, defendant Monarch Plumbing & Heating Co. has admitted the well-pled allegations of fact contained in the complaint.

III. Jurisdiction and Venue

Jurisdiction and venue over ERISA and LMRA cases such as this are conferred upon the court by 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132, 1145 and 185, which provide that an action may be brought in any district court of the United States in which the relevant benefit plan is administered, where the alleged breach took place, or where a defendant resides or may be found. In this case, jurisdiction and venue are proper because the National Pension Fund is administered in this district. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 3.

IV. Facts

The following facts are established by the complaint and by plaintiff's affidavits in support of default judgment.

Plaintiff National Pension Fund is the trustee of a multi-employer employee benefit plan, as defined by ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(3), (37). Compl. ¶ 1. The National Pension Fund is administered in Alexandria, Virginia, and is established and maintained by a Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust and by a Collective Bargaining Agreement between defendant and United Association Local Union No. 24 ("Local 24"). Id.

Defendant Monarch is a New Jersey corporation existing under the laws of the State of New Jersey. Compl. ¶ 2. Defendant transacts business in the State of New Jersey as a contractor or subcontractor in the plumbing and pipefitting industry. Id. At all times herein, defendant was an "employer in an industry affecting commerce" as defined by the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 142(1), (3) and 152(2), ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(5), (9), (11), (12), (14), and the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, 29 U.S.C. § 1001a. Id. Defendant entered into the aforementioned Collective Bargaining Agreement (the "Agreement") with Local 24, establishing the terms and conditions of employment for journeymen and apprentice plumbers and pipefitters employed by defendant. Compl. ¶ 4. As a signatory to the Agreement, defendant is bound by the Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust ("Trust Agreement") establishing the National Pension Fund. Compl. ¶ 12.

Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, defendant agreed and is obligated to pay the National Pension Fund certain sums of money for each hour worked by employees of defendant covered by the Agreement. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 10. Defendant has failed to make contributions due to the National Pension Fund on behalf of ...


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