United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
TRUSTEES OF THE PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS NATIONAL PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
JEROMY BUSKIRK d/b/a JBUS PIPE, PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR, LLC, Defendant.
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
Michael S. Nachmanoff United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Default Judgment (Dkt. No. 11). Having reviewed the record
and pleadings, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends
entering default judgment in the Plaintiff's favor for
the reasons that follow.
October 16, 2017, Plaintiffs-the Trustees of multi-employer
benefit plans-filed a Complaint against Defendant Jeromy
Buskirk d/b/a JBus Pipe, Plumbing, Heating & Air, LLC
pursuant to Sections 502 and 515 of the Employment Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), as
amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132, 1145, and Section
301(a) and (c) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947
(“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 185(a), (c).
See Compl. ¶¶ 3-6 (Dkt. No. 1); Pls.'
Mot for Default J. at 1 (Dkt. No. 11). Plaintiffs seek a
monetary judgment for delinquent contributions, accrued
interest, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and costs
in addition to the amounts that become due through the date
of judgment. Id. ¶¶ 17-20, 27-30.
Plaintiffs allege that from August 2016 to August 2017,
Defendant, which is signatory to a collective bargaining
agreement, employed workers within Local 565's
jurisdiction and “failed to make contributions”
due to the National Pension and International Training Funds
under which journeymen, apprentice plumbers, and pipefitters
are covered. Id. ¶¶ 7-10, 12, 14, 22.
Defendant also failed to submit reports to these benefit
plans, specifying the amount owed during this time period.
Id. ¶¶ 13, 23; Inscoe NPF Aff. ¶ 6
(Dkt. No. 12-1); Inscoe ITF Aff. ¶ 6 (Dkt. No. 12-2).
the date of filing, Defendant owed Plaintiffs $11, 153.22 in
contributions and $1, 115.32 in liquidated damages to the
National Pension Fund (“NPF”); $182.26 in
contributions and $36.45 in liquidated damages to the
International Training Fund (“ITF”). Compl.
¶¶ 18, 20, 28, 30. Plaintiffs now seek recovery of
$12, 487.25, plus interest at rate of 12 percent per year on
the delinquent amount until the date of payment as well as
costs and attorneys' fees. Id. ¶¶ 20,
December 6, 2017, Plaintiffs' process server personally
served Defendant through an officer, Jeromy Buskirk, pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c), (e), and (h) (Dkt.
No. 5). See Business Organization Detail, West
Virginia Secretary of State,
(listing Jeromy Buskirk as officer of Defendant LLC, although
Defendant's charter was revoked in 2015). Defendant did
not file a response within 21 days of receipt (i.e.
December 27, 2017) (Dkt. Nos. 5, 8). On January 17, 2018, the
Clerk entered a default against Defendant (Dkt. No. 10). Nine
days later, Plaintiffs filed this Motion for Default Judgment
(Dkt. No. 11).
Service of Process, Jurisdiction, and Venue
docket reflects that Defendant has been properly served
pursuant to Federal Rule 4(h)(1)(B). See Summons
Return Executed (Dkt. No. 5). This Court has subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.SC. § 1331 and 29 U.S.C.
§§ 185, 1132, and 1145, as Plaintiffs seek relief
under ERISA and LMRA. See Compl. ¶ 6.
Court also has personal jurisdiction and venue over
Defendant. While Defendant is incorporated in West Virginia
and has its principal place of business in that state, ERISA
provides that “an action . . . 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); Compl. ¶¶
3-4. LMRA also states that jurisdiction lies “(1) in
the district in which such organization maintains its
principal office, or (2) in any district in which its duly
authorized officers or agents are engaged in representing or
acting for employee members.” 29 U.S.C. § 185(c);
see Pls.' Mot. for Default J. at 2 (Dkt. No.
11). The Funds are administered in Alexandria, Virginia,
which is within the Eastern District of Virginia.
See Compl. ¶¶ 1-2.
judgment is appropriate if the well-pled allegations of the
complaint establish that the plaintiff is entitled to relief
and the defendant has failed to plead or defend within the
time frame set out in the rules. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55; see
Music City Music v. Alfa Foods, Ltd., 616 F.Supp. 1001,
1002 (E.D. Va. 1985). By defaulting, the defendant admits the
plaintiff's well-pled allegations of fact, which then
provide the basis for judgment. See Partington v. Am.
Int'l Specialty Lines Ins. Co., 443 F.3d 334, 341
(4th Cir. 2006); Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network,
253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Nishimatsu
Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200,
1206 (5th Cir. 1975)). Nevertheless, “‘[a] court
confronted with a motion for default judgment is required to
exercise sound judicial discretion in determining whether the
judgment should be entered, and the moving party is not
entitled to default judgment as a matter of
right.'” ReadyCap Lending, LLC v. Servicemaster
Prof'l Cleaning, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-451, 2016 WL
1714877, at *2 (E.D. Va. Apr. 12, 2016) (quoting EMI
April Music, Inc. v. White, 618 F.Supp.2d 497, 505 (E.D.
Va. 2009)). Here, because Defendant has not answered or
otherwise timely responded, the well-pled allegations of fact
contained in the Complaint are deemed to be admitted.
examined the record, the Magistrate Judge finds that the
well-pled allegations of fact contained in the Complaint-and
supported by Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Motion
for Default Judgment and affidavits-establish that Defendant
failed to remit any contributions to Plaintiffs on behalf of
its Local 565 employees from August 2016 to August 2017.
Compl. ¶¶ 12, 17-18, 22, 27-28. Defendant's
failure to make proper contributions is in violation of the
collective bargaining agreement, Trust Document, ERISA, 29
U.S.C. §§ ...