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Board of Trustees, Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund v. 4 Seasons Home Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

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

August 18, 2016

BOARD OF TRUSTEES, SHEET METAL WORKERS' NATIONAL PENSION FUND, Plaintiff,
v.
4 SEASONS HOME HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING, INC., Defendant.

          Board of Trustees, Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund, Plaintiff, represented by David Michael Mohl, Slevin & Hart, P.C..

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          THERESA CARROLL BUCHANAN, Magistrate Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment. (Dkt. 8.) When no representative for defendant appeared at the hearing on July 22, 2016, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took the matter under advisement to issue this Report and Recommendation.[1]

         I. INTRODUCTION

         A. Background

         Plaintiff is the Board of Trustees of the Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund ("plaintiff" or "the Fund"), which is a multiemployer pension plan within the meaning of 29 U.S.C §§ 1002 and 1301. (Compl. ¶ 4; Shaw Decl. ¶ 2.) Defendant, 4 Seasons Home Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., is a Washington corporation and an employer in an industry affecting commerce that does business with plaintiff. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-8.) At all times relevant to this action, defendant was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with Sheet Metal Workers' International Association Local Union No. 66. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-11; Shaw Decl. ¶ 5; Mem. Supp. Mot. Default J. 2-3.) Defendant agreed to abide by the terms of that agreement and the Declaration of Trust establishing the Fund. (Compl. ¶ 12; Shaw Decl. ¶ 6; Mem. Supp. Mot. Default J. 3.)

         Plaintiff 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, which governs suits among parties to enforce provisions of their multiemployer pension plan. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5; Mem. Supp. Mot. Default J. 1-2.) Plaintiff seeks an unpaid exit contribution, interest, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to ERISA and the collective bargaining agreement. (Compl. ¶ 18; Mot. Default J. 2; Mem. Supp. Mot. Default J. 4-6.)

         B. Jurisdiction and Venue

         Jurisdiction and venue over ERISA cases such as this are conferred upon the Court by 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145. Under Sections 502 and 515 of ERISA, 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. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2). In this case, jurisdiction and venue are proper because the Fund is administered in this District. (Compl. ¶ 6; Shaw Decl. ¶ 2.)

         This Court has personal jurisdiction over defendant pursuant to 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). Defendant does business with plaintiff that is sufficient to create personal jurisdiction over defendant in this district, and a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred from transactions with plaintiff's office in this district. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Default J. 2.)

         C. Service of Process

         As a general rule, a defendant must be served with the summons and complaint filed with the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. On April 13, 2016, plaintiff's private process server served defendant by delivering a copy of the Complaint and Summons to Mike Mattilla, President, who is authorized to accept service of process on behalf of defendant 4 Seasons Home Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., at 23209 58th Street E, Buckley, Washington 98321. (Dkt. 4.) Therefore, service was proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(h) and under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2), which provides that process may be served in any district where a defendant resides or may be found.

         D. Grounds for Default Judgment

         Defendant has not appeared, answered, or otherwise filed any responsive pleadings in this case. On June 13, 2016, the Clerk of this Court entered default as to defendant pursuant to plaintiff's Request for Entry of Default and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). (Dkt. 6.) On June 16, 2016, the Honorable T.S. Ellis, III ordered that plaintiff file a prompt Motion for Default Judgment. (Dkt. 7.) Plaintiff filed a Motion for Default Judgment on July 13, 2016. (Dkt. 8.) The ...


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